Schools Safer Than Houses
We’re getting more than our fair share of doom and gloom these days. But hey, it’s not all bleakness out there in 2020 land. Despite the naysayers complaining that schools should close if a lot of businesses are closing, the Government remains steadfast in its decision to keep schools, colleges and childcare facilities open. While, for many parents who work outside the home, creches and schools are an integral part of their working lives, the importance of schools lies in their effects on children and young people.
Children Need Schools
The last lockdown had nasty effects on children. The lack of socialisation caused a lot of problems for children psychologically and developmentally. Although teachers, principals and the Department of Education fought tirelessly to keep the wheels on the wagon with online learning and the rather brilliant Home School Hub, it became increasingly difficult to keep children engaged with school work at all. And that’s the kids who don’t have special needs. Children with special needs, who need the stimulation and routine of a structured learning environment for their development, were really at a disadvantage. Add to that the fact that vulnerable and at-risk children who might normally be able to voice their distress at school or who would have their situation noticed and notified by teachers, were left alone in their home difficulties.
Solid Good News
So, despite what we might assume and despite what the social media ‘experts’ might be ranting about, the facts about schools re-opening speak, very positively, for themselves. The figures paint an encouraging picture. And boy, do we need an encouraging picture right now! The schools have been open for almost two months now. An outbreak is deemed to be two or more cases in one location. There have been 73 outbreaks of this kind in school settings. Sounds like a lot but wait…there are 4,000 plus schools open in this country. 10,513 school participants – that includes teachers and students – have been mass tested in schools after positive cases have been found in a school environment. Out of that testing came a total of 246 cases. That gives a positive Covid-19 rate of only 2%. Nationwide in the wider community, the positivity rate stands at 7.3%. Meaning schools are, by far, one of the safest group settings in the country. These stats are similar to those found in other countries. Coronavirus transmission rates in schools, especially primary schools, are low or negligible. School principals, teacher, the DoE, working in conjunction with the HSE and public health officials, have made schools as safe a controlled environment as we can hope for at the moment.