The major flaw in Boris Johnson’s latest coronavirus measures
PUBLISHED: 16:25 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:25 17 July 2020
A radio caller has highlighted a major flaw in Boris Johnson’s latest coronavirus plans which could stop schools from reconvening in September.
Become a Supporter
Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.
Pat, whose son is a teacher, outlined a major conundrum facing schools as a result of new coronavirus guidelines.
On Friday, the prime minister shared a raft of new measure aimed at opening up Britain’s economy from months of hibernations provoked by Covid-19.
Alongside plans to re-open leisure centres and large arenas by autumn, Johnson also gave employers sweeping powers to decide when workers should return to the office after August 1, effectively ending the work-from-home policy.
He also laid out plans to get children back to school by September.
“It is not for government to decide how employers should run their companies and whether they want their workforces in the office or not - that is for companies,” he said, urging a return only if workplaces were “Covid-secure”.
But as Pat pointed out, the very rules designed to help schools reopen could lead to their closures.
She explained: “If their employer, the school, tells them they shouldn’t come into work because they can’t work in a safe and Covid-secure way, then he [Pat’s son] doesn’t have to go into work.
“But the government is saying in September all the schools have got to go back.”
LBC presenter James O’Brien took a few moments to process her statement before shouting “you’ve done it!” and proceeded to congratulate her for unravelling a central piece of government public health policy.
“It’s up to the employers whether or not work is safe or not unless you’re a head teacher,” he said.
Pat added: “And how can you work in a safe and Covid-secure way when there’s going to be no social distancing?”
O’Brien replied: “So the one work place where it’s going to be hardest to observe is the workplace where Boris Johnson is saying you’ve got to open up whether you want to or not. But all the other employees are being told it’s up to your employer whether you open up or not.”
He then declared that Pat’s response had “won Friday” and offered a round of applause.
The government has come under heavy fire for its schools policy after education minister Gavin Williamson backtracked on commitments to re-open schools by June because social distancing rules were not attainable in classrooms.
Downing Street has since argued that schools will re-open regardless of the restrictions.
Become a Supporter
Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter