He admitted that he would rather have pupils restart an academic year than risk having to “lose a child”.
A primary school headteacher of 15 years has gone viral online after penning a frank latter to parents in which he addressed his concerns and warned that schools cannot eliminate the risk of the virus spreading between children if classes are to potentially restart next month.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Sunday evening and indicated that it may be possible for primary schools to begin reopening for early years, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children to return to from the start of next month.
Howard Fisher, the headteacher of St George’s Church of England Primary School in Sheerness, Kent, expressed the fears he has about plans to introduce social distancing in schools through staggered break times and other measures.
His letter has now been shared well over 15,000 times on social media, according to Kent Live.
Mr Fisher’s letter reads: “We have no plans sent from the government before the announcement last night. No doubt they will arrive this week suggesting social distancing, less pupils in school, splitting them up, staggered lunches and drop offs, etc.”
“I can be truthful here and categorically tell you there is no such thing as social distancing in a school; it does not exist and would never exist.”
“The reason childhood illnesses spread in a school is surprise, surprise, we are all in contact with each other.”
“I can put two children in opposite classrooms and they will still get chicken pox because that’s how it is in a school. This virus we are lead to believe is a super spreader.”
The letter continued: “Do I want the staff and the children back; of course. Are you at the end of your tether at home; of course you are.”
“However I am not going to sit here and write to you to say we can achieve social distancing in a school. We can always make things safer, we could perhaps reduce slightly the risk, but as soon as you open the school as far as my many years can tell you, the risk will be there.”
“So that leaves us all in a quandary doesn’t it? How long can we go on like this for? Unfortunately I heard no answers last night, I heard no solutions.”
“I heard that it is ok to put our youngest children back in a school and our oldest. I heard nothing that would put my mind at rest.”
“There will be some of you that say, ‘let’s just get on with it,’ I respect that, but get on with what?”
“There is not a reliable test, a vaccine, an idea about what to do next, there is just the possibility that things will be ok; that’s all we have at the moment and ‘ok’ is not good enough when it comes to the precious gift that is your child.”
Mr Fisher said that he believes a “sensible and rational debate around better solutions” is missing.
He closed out the letter declaring that “believe me, I would rather any child repeats a year than go back too soon and have to lose a child; why is this not in the national debate; because it will cost money”.
“I am only interested in my community and the families I serve and hope that you can reflect on my thoughts as the week unfolds.”
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