Coronavirus: Pupils are left shivering as schools insists on keeping windows open


Pupils have been left shivering at schools across Britain with windows and doors being left open to keep classrooms ventilated as a coronavirus safety precaution.

Parents at one school in Norfolk said their children were left ‘almost blue’ and ‘shivering’, while teachers elsewhere are having to wear scarves and coats all day.

Some schools have urged pupils to ‘learn to love being a bit chilly and fresh’ and ensure they are wearing ‘coats, gloves and base layers’ to stay warm.

It comes as temperatures have dropped over the past ten days with highs of just 55F (13C) today – and school chiefs fear the situation could worsen towards winter.

One mother said her son was ‘so cold he couldn’t talk’ after teachers at Wymondham High Academy (file picture) in Norfolk said he could not wear his coat

The Government has told schools they should try to maximise air flow in classrooms by keeping windows and doors open to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

In Norfolk, mother Charlotte Brannan Milito said her son was ‘so cold he couldn’t talk’ after teachers at Wymondham High Academy said he could not wear his coat.

A-Levels ‘will be DELAYED next summer by three weeks after No 10 insisted that they must not be cancelled completely’ 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

Ministers are preparing to delay next year’s A-Level exams by three weeks to compensate for pupils’ disrupted education, it was claimed last night.

Gavin Williamson is expected to soon announce a revised exams timetable to give teenagers more time to catch up on missed learning.

The Education Secretary is adamant exams will go ahead after a bruising summer under siege from furious students, parents and teachers over the use of a controversial algorithm to calculate marks, which led to widespread downgrading.

His demands are being relayed by the department’s director of operations David Brown, who the Telegraph reports has held a series of private meetings in which he disclosed plans to push back exams until mid-July.

The Department for Education last night said ‘a possible short delay to the exam timetable’ is a live discussion after being proposed by the regulator Ofqual.

Ofqual boss Dame Glenys Stacey reportedly backs the Government’s extension to the exam timetable and is busy mapping out a strategy to ensure that papers are graded before the start of the university term in 2021.

Downing Street is understood to have decreed exams to go ahead next year after refusing to bow to critics urging them to be scrapped.

She told BBC Radio Norfolk: ‘My children asked if they could put their coats on and they were told that they couldn’t. The teacher said putting on a coat would be a distraction to the rest of the class.

‘I was shocked – my youngest said he was so cold he couldn’t even talk because his teeth were chattering.

‘I understand why the windows were open and I completely support and commend the school on how well they have put all the guidance into place and how everything is running – I don’t have any qualms with that at all.

‘It’s just that I really do feel if a child is uncomfortable and they feel cold, I don’t think putting on a coat is going to cause distraction.’

But Wymondham High headteacher Jonathan Rockey said: ‘The weather last week turned from summer to winter in a matter of a few days.

‘Teaching staff were given discretion as to whether or not pupils required a coat depending on the temperature of the classroom.

‘It’s not necessary for pupils to wear coats at the moment as our rooms are well heated but, as part of our risk assessment, our systems are reviewed fortnightly.’

Teachers are complaining of ‘miserable’ temperatures, numb fingers, and having to wear scarves and coats all day.

Other teachers have been ordering clothing and telling pupils to buy ‘good thermals’ ahead of the weather getting colder, reported the Times Educational Supplement.

The publication also told of a a physics teacher from Southampton who claimed that gloves, scarves and hats would now become ‘essential’ in classrooms. 

Highlighting the issue was Stuart Lock, chief executive of Advantage Schools in Bedford, who tweeted last week: ‘School was cold today – and much worse for pupils and teachers.

‘Are people whacking their heating up and keeping windows open or what? Going to be hard in proper winter.’

Teacher Paige Richardson, who lives in Brighton, replied: ‘I was so cold, by period three I struggled to use the keyboard to do the register because my hands were so cold. I teach in the south of England. It’s September.’

An anonymous primary school headteacher in Surrey added: ‘Decided to close all outside doors during lesson times, open all internal doors and windows for ventilation.

‘If the children and staff are freezing then I doubt the lesson will be as productive as it should be.’

Highlighting the issue was Stuart Lock, chief executive of Advantage Schools in Bedford, who tweeted last week: 'School was cold today - and much worse for pupils and teachers'

Highlighting the issue was Stuart Lock, chief executive of Advantage Schools in Bedford, who tweeted last week: ‘School was cold today – and much worse for pupils and teachers’

But Adele Jackson, from Shropshire, said: ‘Confused… So keep the windows open to help spread Covid… ?! Doesn’t it actually love the cold?!?

‘Are windows open really going to stop the spread?! Not likely and the discomfort and colds it will cause I’m sure outweigh the benefits!’

Meanwhile Caroline Derbyshire, headteacher of Saffron Walden County High School in Essex, said: ‘We are all going to have to continue to keep children outside or in highly ventilated rooms when the weather breaks.

‘This will involve reminding students and staff to bring coats, gloves and base layers. Learning to love being a bit chilly and fresh will keep us all safer.’

Government guidance on the return of schools says: ‘Once the school is in operation, it is important to ensure good ventilation and maximise this wherever possible, for example, by opening windows and propping open doors, as long as they are not fire doors, where safe to do so, bearing in mind safeguarding in particular.

‘Arrangements for ventilation will vary in each setting based on individual circumstances.’

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