I’m impressed. The EIS has received a far better response to a trade union survey than I’ve seen before.
Roughly one-third of all teachers responded and they were geographically well-spread and from all the sectors.
So that’s good. Well done everyone.
Two thirds, nearly 40 000, were apparently not worried enough about Covid to complete a short online survey.
The sample of one third which did respond, even though large, is likely to be skewed in favour of those either genuinely worried about Covid, who have always, found pupils a worry or an irritation, who are opposed to the SNP on anything at all, who fancy more time at home or who haven’t been paying attention.
Attention to what?
A summary of the latest evidence on coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools has been published. The paper, from the COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues, looks at the risks posed by the virus to pupils and staff, and the benefits to children and young people of schools remaining open.
- the rate of coronavirus-related sickness among pupils is low across the country – at 12 November, this represented about 0.1% of all pupils
- there is no direct evidence that transmission of the virus within schools plays a significant role in driving rates of infection among children
- data found there is no difference between COVID-19 positivity rates in teachers and school staff relative to other worker groups of the same age
- closing schools presents a serious risk of harm to the wellbeing of children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable
- more than 75% of schools in Scotland did not have any pupils who tested positive for COVID-19 in the first term of the school year. Rises in positive cases in the last three weeks of term coincided with an increase in community prevalence across all adult age groups.
Professor Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh and a member of the COVID-19 Sub-Group, said:
The overwhelming evidence from across the world is that children are safest in school and that school closures increase educational inequalities and have long-term detrimental outcomes for young people. Scotland’s success in providing primary and secondary children full-time, in-person learning from mid-August should be an example for other countries in the world deciding their schools policy. The key factor in keeping schools open and safe is to reduce community prevalence by ensuring appropriate public health measures and restrictions are put in place to reduce community transmission.
Based on some ‘new figures’ where of course we don’t get to see the raw numbers, the Herald/EIS team is pushing hard on closing schools and closing down the SNP Government’s reputation for pandemic management while just ignoring yesterday’s report revealing that only 0.1% of pupils were infected, that 75% of schools had no infections and that teachers were no more at risk than any other workers.
After shocking us with the news that, as cases, were surging across the country, they were also up in Schools, they present their top piece of evidence:
The highest positive test rates are seen among S5/6 pupils where in October they reached 129 per 100 000.
Here’s some background.
There are less than 100 000, S5/6 pupils, spread across 357 schools in Scotland.
They’re often taught in much smaller classes than other levels so that spacing is feasible.
Senior pupils are expected to wear face masks in Leve 3 and 4 areas.
Finally, how does 129 per 100 000 compare with the rates faced by the communities outside of those classrooms?
So, infection levels in a typical S5/6 class with 10 or so pupils, spaced out, wearing face masks and not shouting, we hope, like those in the garage or warehouse nearby, are much lower than those outside?