A Devon headteacher has called for school staff to be prioritised in the race to get the country vaccinated next.

  • Training for the Lateral Flow tests started this week for primary school staff, turning results around in less than an hour.
  • The Government expect staff members to do two tests per week, although optional.

The Department of Education rolled out training this week for the new Lateral Flow coronavirus tests, preparing the primary school staff for rapid testing, however, it’s been announced that part of the secondary school testing resume has been paused.

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson said:

“This huge expansion of rapid testing for those working in education is a milestone moment in our work to keep schools and colleges open for all.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint secretary of the National Education Union suggests there are raft measures to conquer the virus including social distancing, vaccinations and testing

Headteacher of Thornbury Primary School, Claire Hardisty has continued to adapt to the regular government guidance, opening their doors safely to 40% of their pupils this term, with around 30% daily attendance.

(Claire Hardisty, Head Teacher)

Children of critical workers and children who are considered vulnerable can have in-school provision, while the remaining pupils are learning online during the latest lockdown.

“As our school is so close to Derriford Hospital, we have lots of parents who work in the NHS. They are providing a vitally important service to our community, and being able to work, knowing their children are cared for and educated is a big help to them.

In-school learning must continue to stay open to help parents and carers with their children over lockdown who may have other important commitments.

(Pupil Fynn Olinsky, aged 10)

it is to be hoped that along with testing, vaccinations and community measures all children can go back to their school classrooms.

The school started putting control measures in place since February last year which Thornbury Primary School has continued to overcome the new government guidance keeping both staff and pupils safe.

Now children and staff have allocated bubbles, totalling in 7 altogether where they cannot mix with each other to prevent the spread of the virus. School staff are not scheduled as of yet to be vaccinated of yet.
4.3 million out of the 15 million priority group have received the vaccine who include: over 80, care home residents, the NHS and social care workers. Mrs Hardisty says:

“School staff should be considered as soon as possible, as it’s recognised that keeping schools open is very important for children’s wellbeing and learning.”

“Many schools have older workers, and those with health needs, or might have family members who are vulnerable in some way, and we all come into contact with a lot of people- a vaccination would hopefully help school staff be safer.”

Latest figures in this Plymouth area shows a rapid rise in positive coronavirus cases.

National Education Union joint secretary Bousted stated:

“This is why there can be no premature wider school openings before COVID infection rates are significantly reduced.”

Thornbury Primary School believe it’s important for children to have ‘continuity of education’ and Mrs Hardisty looks forward to welcoming back her pupils in more normal times.

It is to be hoped that the vaccine and other current measures amongst primary schools will see pupils back to their classrooms soon.

Her heart-warming message says:

“I would like children to know how proud I am of them all…We are a school family, whether in lockdown or not, and I look forward to when we can be back together in normal times. I can ensure you, that on that day, whenever that may be, that I will have tears in my eyes and song in my heart.

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