My daughter teaches in a senior school of about 600 pupils. In less than six weeks’ time, all pupils are being forced to return to the classroom, with 30 children to each room. The only concession to the pandemic is that their desks will face towards the front, and that each year of approximately 120 pupils will be considered to be a bubble, even though all 600 children will be within the same building.
In their letter (22 July), three doctors state that “the risk of transmission of Covid-19 is directly related to viral overload and exposure time”. Thousands of teachers will be getting more and more anxious as the autumn term approaches. They will be stuck in closed, unventilated, centrally heated rooms with 30 coughing and sneezing children for six to seven hours every day, five days a week. The safety of office staff, shop workers, care home staff, bus drivers, taxi drivers, council workers and hospital medical staff is given careful consideration, but teachers are ignored.
Of course children must receive education, but to keep the staff safe there should be random testing of pupils and teachers every week. This is unlikely to happen. The teaching unions should be pushing for this as a precondition to get all pupils and staff back to school safely.
• I find the debate about when and where to wear a face mask disheartening. Surely the requirement for wearing one should be defined as being any indoor space regardless of the purpose – including offices. We need to create a culture of this being the new normal and not try to find exceptions. I for one will be wearing a mask whenever I enter an enclosed space.
• Weeks ago I had my daily walk with a sports vest and face mask on, and wanted to buy water in a local Sainsbury’s. The guard at the door asked me to put a shirt on, or I wouldn’t be allowed to enter. I accepted their authority and walked away. Since they can enforce a dress code, of course they can enforce a rule of wearing a mask (Sainsbury’s and Asda say they won’t enforce English face mask laws, 24 July). It’s not up to the police, it’s up to the shops.