Reform Jersey Statement on Concerns About Covid in Schools
Yesterday Reform Jersey wrote to the Chief Minister, Education Minister and Health Minister to express the concerns which have been raised with us from people working on the front-line in our Education service and parents of children at school.
We are being told of worries about the viability of keeping schools running effectively, because of staff having to isolate after contracting Covid after being in direct contact with children at school who have tested positive. With the position of the government now appearing to be to support herd immunity for children, younger people working with children are now being put at risk, without adequate support in place for them. It is also worth pointing out that the government had previously rejected calls for teachers to be vaccinated early as essential workers.
We called on Ministers to hold an emergency meeting with headteachers to hear their concerns. This has been rejected.
Now that decisions are being made based on political priorities, rather than health needs, the political decision makers need to be speaking directly with the people who are affected by their decisions. It is not right that the Ministers are sending officers to act as their spokespeople to headteachers, rather than meeting them themselves to hear their serious concerns.
We have asked whether any children are becoming seriously ill, but have not received a response on this point yet. We will be following it up. We share the concerns raised by parents over the longterm effects of the illness in their children, and the risk for them to contract the virus at school and spread it to family members at home, which could have a severely disruptive effect in their home and work life.
This situation has arisen because of the failures in managing the track and trace system. The government must now be open and transparent about the consequences of their decisions, and be prepared to listen to those who are suffering the negative effects to ensure people are not abandoned and effective protections are put in place.