Should Schools Now Be Opening?

Just for a change, we’re asking a non-rhetorical question. So, ignoring the fact that ScoMoFo is a thug, and ignoring the fact that “Dumbo” Dan Tehan is a thug, is it time for schools to reopen?

Our suspicion is that, at least in Victoria, the answer is “no”. We haven’t thought hard about it, however. So, while we (try to find time to) think some more, we’d be interested in what others have to say.

Very quickly, here are the arguments we see for opening schools in Victoria:

  • Federal health officials suggest schools are safe.
  • The NSW study (not yet peer-reviewed) suggests schools are safe.
  • Childminding.
  • Year 12 students are getting seriously dicked around.

Here are the arguments we see for keeping schools in Victoria closed:

  • ScoMoFo is an idiot.
  • Dumbo Dan makes ScoMoFo look smart.
  • Daniel Andrews and his Chief Medical Officer are not idiots.
  • No one has a real sense of what will happen when restrictions ease.
  • The kids (P-11) miss a term of school? Big deal.

27 Replies to “Should Schools Now Be Opening?”

  1. I will get the ball rolling and vote NO.

    For one reason above all others: it is easier to say no now and then yes in a month or two when the picture is clearer than say YES now and then have to undo it all in a hurry if things go wrong.

    1. Thanks, RF. Yes, that’s basically my argument. There is not much to be gained by rushing, and it’s very unclear what we might lose.

    2. I have to agree that’s the logical decision. Unfortunately, a lot of babies are getting thrown out with the bath water in the meantime and only time will tell whether one crisis has been mitigated at the expense of creating others (possibly worse). (Among other possible crises, I will specifically mention the mental health crisis, examples of which I have first hand experience with).

      1. And yet I’m worried that when they try to solve a problem they will create new ones that aren’t solved so easily.

        I am hoping to see a bit of patience on the question of schools.

        Primary schools are a bit of an easier matter as you can theoretically keep the one teacher with the one group in the one space. Secondary schools are a much more complicated situation.

          1. I’ve never been happier to be a Victorian. Have some personal opinions (with reason) about the federal chief medical officer; in short, I trust the state over the commonwealth on matters of health.

            1. RF, I’m not sure what you’re hinting at, but I’m also no fan of Murphy. It’s difficult for a CMO to maintain their independence, and Murphy doesn’t appear to be aware of this, much less bothered by this.

  2. Public health is not an exact discipline; on a scale of exactness, it’s closer to economics than to physics. Everyone seems to expect that it won’t be long before students get back to school; the only issue for debate is when. I realise that there are many factors involved; a taxi driver told me today that there is pressure mounting to lift restrictions before Mother’s Day, and there is the football season, and our subscription to the ballet.

    1. No, Terry. The real issue is “how”. It still seems to me that many people are imagine we will return to normal. This clearly false. “Normal” no longer exists.

  3. It is more than the public health itself.

    In fact, this must be a very difficult process to reestablish the public confidence in our government and other people.

    At least in Australia people still have hopes, which is juxtaposed to the disintegrated great America with their great president DT who made America “great again” by implementing numerous “effective approaches”.

    To be honest I think Andrews is doing a decent job, comparatively speaking. Scott Morrison is such a sxxthxxd.

    Hopefully all schools will resume around term 3.

    That is the first big step to rebuild the confidence and trusts in all of us.

    Social distancing is crucial, but it’s time to start real face to face communications!

    1. P.N., I agree. Andrews has for the most part been excellent. ScoMoFo has been much better than he might have been, partly because the premiers bashed him into it, and and partly, as you suggest, the strength of Australia’s public health system.

      But, yes, Australians must have trust in the government and the ScoMoFo and his team of goons are fundamentally untrustworthy cretins. As we transition from full lockdown, they are beginning to show their true colours, and it will probably be a mess.

  4. The Guardian reported that Victoria was apparently working on some sort of resumption of face-to-face teaching by June. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/29/private-school-funding-linked-to-reopening-from-coronavirus-lockdown-attacked-in-victoria

    If this is accurate, I suspect it’d be similar to the NSW model of only one day a week, and it might also only be for some year levels.

    Personally I am worried about the impact on staff health and the consequences close contact between teachers could have. At my school we have a number of staff that would be quite vulnerable, and it’s not clear that the school would be in a good position to support them. Even if you accept that children are not significant vectors of the virus, how are vulnerable staff members going to be protected from substantial and lengthy contact with other staff members? Office space is also going to be a major issue for a lot of schools, where too many staff members are crammed into tiny spaces – it’s already an unsatisfactory work environment, but now staffrooms could be breeding grounds for an outbreak.

    1. Thanks, SRK. I honestly have no idea how this might be implemented in a reasonable way. I really feel for anyone having to make decisions around this mess.

  5. We should adopt a student-centred approach. Each student should return to school when he or she wants to, provided that it is safe to do so.

    1. Terry, as with most suggestions that contain the expression “student-centred”, that is a silly idea.

      1. Why? The suggestion embraces student-centred learning, freedom, democracy, respect of the individual and tolerance of difference. What else do you want? Let’s ask students what they want.

        1. And there, in a nutshell, you have modern education. What else do I want? For the positive concepts of discipline to be acknowledged, respected and instilled.

          1. Of course I was not serious – but I did wonder what students would choose. From my little experience, in several schools (Years 9-12) which I would regard as pretty good schools (government and non-government), I estimate that about 20% of the students don’t want to be there. I venture to say that the figure would be much higher across all schools in Australia.

            1. Terry, I’m sorry, I missed the sarcasm. (The apology is not sarcasm.)

              It’s very difficult to tell these days. For example, you now seem to be seriously asking whether students want to be at school. But that’s entirely the wrong question.

        2. Right … The ‘student voice’. ‘Focus groups’. Don’t get me started.

          As an aside – who else watched Insiders this morning? As if we needed even more evidence for what a total moron Tehan is.

          1. “Insiders”. The very name tells you the program is poison. As for Dumbo Dan, what did he do now? Eat his own foot?

            1. “Let’s keep remote learning going even when schools return. Get the teacher’s aids to run it” etc. etc.

              Because of course every class has a teacher’s aid and of course those aids do nothing but sit around twiddling their thumbs hoping that someone like Tehan will give them something to do etc. etc.

              What a fu%$ing idiot.

  6. From a numbers perspective, it possibly makes sense to open primary schools first. The students have contact with less teachers and they are, in general, smaller spaces. It may give a sense of what could happen if secondary schools were opened.

    Of course, some students have a very poor concept of “social distance”.

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