Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1105/31461
The Socialist 14 October 2020 |
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Even more delay in stopping school transmission?
Martin Powell-Davies, teacher and National Education Union activist
School staff and parents fear the worst. Public Health England figures show that the highest test-positivity rates are now in the 10-19 age group, but schools are still expected to remain open with full class sizes, even in 'tier-two' and 'tier-three' lockdown areas.
Now we learn that the national contact-tracing callers are no longer directly reporting cases to the local health protection teams who do the follow-up in schools. Is this because a more efficient system has emerged, or is it just another example of the government failing to take the risk of Covid transmission in schools seriously?
Are schools now expected to rely on parents to tell them if their child has a positive test result? What if they don't, or don't do so quickly? Is it then down to schools to tell the local health protection teams? Wouldn't this mean even more delay before health protection teams know what's happening in their area?
And in any case, what's the reason for not following up single cases? Are health protection teams expected to wait until there's a wider outbreak before acting on it?
More delay means more risk and less chance of stopping the virus spreading. Isn't this just adding more opportunities for things to go wrong with a test-and-trace system that desperately needs strengthening, not making worse? We need answers - and fast.