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Headteachers Told To Call Police if People Protest Against Vaccination of Healthy Teenagers Outside School Gates

Parents who are considering demonstrating against the vaccination of their healthy teenage children outside their local school’s gates may have to think twice, with headteachers having been told to call the police if ‘anti-vaxxers’ plan protests near their sites. The Telegraph has the story.

The U.K. Health Security Agency has now issued guidance to headteachers who believe protests could be held outside their school over participation in the vaccination programme, advising them to contact police to help manage the situation.

The agency said it was aware some schools had received campaign letters and emails with “misinformation” about the vaccine programme, after ministers confirmed the roll-out.

Three million 12 to 15 year-olds across the U.K. will be eligible, and the programme is expected to be delivered primarily within schools.

In new guidance, the agency said it knew of schools seeking advice on how to handle protests, and suggested they get in touch with the School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS) team at the “first opportunity” to understand “what security planning they have in place”.

“In the event of a protest or disruptive activity outside a school, or if schools know a protest is planned, they should alert the SAIS provider, local authority and police contacts to discuss the best way to manage the situation,” the guidance added.

Heads and teachers have also been advised “not to engage directly” with misinformation campaigns about the vaccine, but should “acknowledge receipt of concerns” and “refer to the latest scientific guidance on the issue” if necessary.

It comes as NHS England said its objective was to vaccinate children as “quickly as is safe and practical, with the majority of school visits completed and vaccinations administered before October half term”.

Any child who hasn’t received their dose within those five weeks should have the date of their vaccination confirmed, a letter sent on Wednesday to providers stated.

The programme should be ready to start administering jabs “no later” than Wednesday September 22nd, it added.

It is understood that the Department of Health and Social care is also drawing resources which will be issued to local authorities and schools imminently on how to handle potential protests.

Dr. Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Director of the Covid vaccination programme, said: “It is completely unacceptable for anyone involved in administering the Covid vaccine to be subjected to verbal abuse or violence, and we will be working with local partners to ensure that children, teachers and vaccinators are safe while carrying out these life-saving vaccinations.”

NHS England is expected to advise SAIS teams to follow that guidance, which is likely to reflect similar instructions issued earlier in the year on how to deal with violence, threats and abuse at vaccination sites.

Worth reading in full.

Rotherham School Defying Government With Strict Covid Rules

Children at the Wales high school in Rotherham can only dream of returning to normal school life, with mask-wearing outside of the classroom and a ban on different year groups mixing continuing into the future. “We’ve got to remember that Covid is still here,” says Headteacher Pepe Di’Iasio. The Guardian has the story.

Rotherham… is currently one of the most infected areas in England and Di’Iasio is worried that the cases will increase with the beginning of the academic year, as university students return to Sheffield. “There is going to be an influx of people to the area that has one of the highest rates in South Yorkshire,” he said. “And so we wanted to establish some routines that can be maintained for the next three or four weeks. If things go well, we will scale those routines back rather than bring new routines in.”

Di’Iasio said that the stricter measures have been met with support from staff and parents, but he thinks it will be a learning curve for the pupils, especially those arriving from primary schools who did not have to wear masks before. “When students have to have a mask on all the time it is an easy rule to maintain, whereas now they have to remember to put their mask on when they leave the classroom,” he said. …

“With the face masks during lessons it was harder to learn the names or tell who is misbehaving. Many pupils would be agitated towards the end of the class,” said Grace Stansfield, a languages teacher at the school. “And especially when teaching languages, it is useful for the children to see you speak.” Like other staff members, Stansfield hopes that the school’s current measures will prevent a return to the stricter regime from last year.

The Guardian throws its weight behind the enforcement of strict measures at the school by quoting from a number of students who seem to be happy to carry on wearing face masks.

“The masks can be irritating, but they are there for protection,” said Alistair Daoud, a year 12 pupil who has lost his grandmother due to the virus. “I would rather wear a face mask than lose 12 days of valuable learning time for isolation.” However, Alistair is glad that he will only have to wear a mask outside the classroom, as he found it distracting during lessons. Many of his teachers agree with him.

Worth reading in full.

U.K. School Closures Lasted Longer Than in Any Other European Country but One During Lockdowns

The British Government was (and is) so sold on the idea that lockdowns work that it forced schools to close for more time than any other country in Europe but one over the past 18 months. Children here missed more than double the amount of school than their peers in 14 countries on the Continent. The Telegraph has the story.

Between January 2020 and July 2021, British children have been out of the classroom for nearly half (44%) of days, according to a House of Commons Library analysis of data from the University of Oxford Covid Government Response Tracker.

Italy is the only European country where pupils have had more time out of school during the same time frame, with children missing 48% of days.

Youngsters in the U.K. missed more than double the amount of school than their peers in 14 other countries including Hungary, France, Spain, Lithuania and Austria.

Elsewhere pupils in Sweden and Finland have not missed any school at all, while children in Belgium missed just 4% of days. …

After the U.K., children in Germany missed the most school days (41%), followed by Romania (35%) and Poland (34%), the analysis found.

Headteachers attacked the Department for Education’s leadership during the pandemic, saying ministers have “had a tendency to double down on flawed policy decisions before having to perform U-turns”.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: A new study has found that when schools were closed in Scotland, teachers were 50% less likely than the general working population to be admitted to hospital, and when they were open, the risk in both groups was roughly the same. GB News has the story.

Gavin Williamson Refuses to Rule Out More School Closures

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson insists we shouldn’t get “carried away with these new freedoms” and has refused to rule out more school closures later this year as a “last resort” if there is another wave of Covid ‘cases’. The Sun has the story.

Mr. Williamson is pleading with parents not to lower their guard and to go on with testing at home.

He said: “It is important not to get carried away with these new freedoms and throw caution to the wind.

“The last thing we want is for schools to partially close again, or for whole classes of pupils to be at home isolating.

“That should be only the last resort. We need to do everything we can to avoid the levels of disruption we saw last year from the pandemic.”

Whitehall officials remain confident fresh school closures are unlikely and say the country is in a very different place to last year.

They point to the success of the vaccine drive and the fact there are detailed plans to squash outbreaks.

But Mr. Williamson insisted schools must still follow Covid precautions, with regular testing a key element.

He added: “Parents, too, have a responsibility to make sure children are tested regularly.

“I know there are many things people would rather be doing, but it’s really important to make time for it.”

Department for Education guidance states that secondary school and college students in England should be checked twice on site on their return, with lateral flow tests between three and five days apart.

Pupils should continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when the policy will be reviewed.

Mr Williamson’s comments came days after experts said it was “highly likely” there would be high levels of Covid infection in schools by the end of September.

Worth reading in full.

“Good Idea” to Bar Unvaccinated Children From Attending School, Says Dr. Fauci

The Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden says it is a “good idea” to ban unvaccinated American children from going to school, adding that “we’ve done this for decades and decades” with other vaccines. MailOnline has the story.

[Dr. Anthony] Fauci said it was a “good idea” for schools to force children to get their Covid vaccinations amidst discussions on the booster shot roll-out, while adding that doing so would hardly be the first time. 

The Chief Medical Adviser for the White House cited the growing prevalence of the highly-contagious Delta variant, as well as the fact that students already need a variety of booster shots for school, as reasons to further vaccinate children from the coronavirus.

“I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea,” Fauci said Sunday in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.

“We’ve done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis. So this would not be something new requiring vaccinations for children to come to school.”

Fauci, who has become a target of criticism by members of the Republican Party over the last year, told CNN that said criticism is “just a reflection of the politicisation of what should be a purely public health issue and it’s really unfortunate”.

The Covid tsar spoke as new research published in the Lancet Infectious Disease journal showed that the Delta strain of Covid could double the risk of hospitalisation among those who have not been vaccinated. 

Worth reading in full.