The Easing of Restrictions in Scotland has Been Sped Up
I do not know about anyone else, but I am feeling a little uneasy about coming out of lockdown.
Generally speaking, a lot seems to be changing in Scotland rather quickly. A similar situation is happening in England, but where England happened to emerge from lockdown sooner, it so happened the rest of the UK did not.
Public pressure has been put upon Nicola Sturgeon
As an advocate for caution, Sturgeon has carefully set out plans to re-emerge like fawns of Narnia, hoping winter may have gone away.
The ice may be melting, but it does not mean it has gone. Caution is wise, but Sturgeon’s plans have seen huge backlash, and opposition, particularly from parents desperate to return to work.
Caravan and holiday home owners were set to return to their haven on July 15th; tourism had been given the thumbs up from this date onwards by the Scottish government. Then, dramatically it was announced in the press to have changed to July 3rd, along with a whole host of other measures.
As much as I feel my heart jumping for joy at the thought of being able to travel more than five miles again, I cannot fight the trepidation. The previous plan seemed safe, cautious and wise. The weekly televised briefings communicated careful planning and control.
Now it seems caution has been thrown to the wind
There have been murmurings within the press that have suggested Scotland to be making better progress than expected, and this could have sparked the change in strategy. However, the announcements were such a U-turn, this is unlikely. It is more likely the Scottish government have felt the pressure to reopen and particularly, to reopen to pupils full time in August.
It has been promised that school pupils of all ages will return to school full time in August. The bringing forward of reopening may have been done in line with this new announcement. If school pupils are to return in August then the Scottish government may want to ‘test the ground’ before this happens, and ensure the new measures will not affect the R rate drastically.
The return of school pupils full time is particularly unsettling. It means no social distancing for this to happen, and after everything the country has been through-it is alarmingly rash. It has been said by a virologist on BBC news that children are efficient in spreading the virus, and where they may not fall ill to Covid 19 unlike other generations, it is still present within their system. Most importantly, it is at risk of spreading to others.
This all comes with more recent news reporting zero Covid 19 related deaths within the population.
The Virus May be Suppressed, but it Has Not Gone Away
Nicola Sturgeon has been quoted to say:
“Suppressing the virus, driving it as far as we can towards total elimination, has to be our overriding priority.
We have made exceptional progress over the past three months, and the figures today highlight that.
But it has only been possible because the vast majority of us have stuck to the rules.”
Clearly, the Scottish government want pupils to return full time as soon as possible, and the figures so far are promising. However, within the announcement released from the Scottish government, there was no mention of social distancing, other than to mention other countries beginning to ease measures. These are measures that may be lifted after having used social distancing, not before.
The UK in general are returning to school much later than other countries in Europe granted, but it does not warrant ‘full steam ahead’. Perhaps the virus will have been so thoroughly pushed back that it implicates less caution in regard to education, of which is paramount for all children. Yet, it is worrisome that such announcements are being made so early, which will mean schools do not prepare for social distancing measures in August, and may be in for a nasty shock, when they suddenly have to.
Social distancing measures will be carried out throughout our society for some time to come, and perhaps the thinking is, ‘this will be enough, allow children to be educated without restriction’, yet no one knows what ‘enough’ will look like.
A Watched Pot Never Boils
Reopening schools without precaution is throwing caution to the wind. It serves everyone if small steps are taken to fully reopening, rather than the few who have been trumpeting in the stands. Monitoring the situation carefully on a part time basis and slowly introducing full time capacity, presents itself as the only sensible option. It is in no doubt the situation will be heavily monitored if schools return full time straightaway, but it is better to make the changes now rather than later.
If schools have to close because of one coronavirus case, or if the measures are seeing an increase in the R, then is it not better to be prepared now, rather than later?
These are not concerns the government should ever be bullied into.