Schools may see delayed return in January due to large number of teachers isolating

There are worries that some students might see a delayed return to the classroom in January because of the number of teachers stuck isolating due to Covid

Joshua Lee disinfects tables at Queen's Hill Primary School in Costessey near Norwich
Tables being disinfected at Queen’s Hill Primary School in Costessey near Norwich

There are fears that schools might see a delayed return to classrooms in January due to the number of teachers stuck in isolation.

Primer Minister Boris Johnson has come under fire to cut the isolation period to five days to help get as many teachers as possible back to their desks.

The actions would ensure students do not miss any more face-to-face learning due to staff isolating.

Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon sad: “All the energies of the Department of Education and Boris should be about keeping kids in school.

“If by reducing the days in isolation as America’s done, it makes a difference and stops school closing then it should be the number one priority.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson interrupts a Year 2 maths lesson during a visit to St Mary’s CE Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent



“We keep talking about protecting the NHS, which I completely agree with, but what about protecting our children’s futures as well?

“If the catch up programmes are going to work the last thing we need is to send kids home again.”

This comes as headteachers have warned staffing levels will make schooling as normal “very challenging” come the new year.

The calls to cut isolation would follow action America has taken recently.

To deal with staffing issues caused by covid within education, retired teachers have already been urged to return to work.

As it stands, those who catch Covid are told to isolate for a full 10 days.

However, recent guidance has meant that if you test negative for Covid on day six and seven than you can leave the isolation period early.

Sir John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University and a member of the Vaccine Task Force also backed changes to rules around isolating.

Year 6 pupils at Manor Park School and Nursery in Knutsford, Cheshire return after the Christmas break on Monday January 4, 2021



He told Times Radio: “The UK population, I have to say, are now the most experienced and the most efficient users of lateral flow tests than everybody on the planet.

“Everybody’s done tests, the kids have done tests, healthcare workers have done tests and people in the street have done tests.

“So we should probably use that to our advantage, particularly if the quarantine measures which we’ve currently got, which are a pretty crude tool, are actually meaning that some of our key essential services can’t function.”

To aid the return to schools, there have been calls to slash the isolation period to five days



Health minister Gillian Keegan on Tuesday confirmed that Government did consider a five-day isolation period.

She said: “We did consider that which is why we very recently went from 10 days to seven days.

“So today if you test negative on day six and a seven, then your isolation period will end. So that’s what we’ve done for now.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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