my local covid planning (in progress)

Research

Infection rates in Thanet

Infection rate in Thanet has soared since mid-October.

Week up to the 9th of October, Thanet had a rate of 21.1 per 100,000 which made it the 5th least infected place in England.

Sources:

https://www.kentlive.news/news/kent-news/thanet-folkestone-now-among-least-4602242

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases?areaType=ltla&areaName=Thanet

Currently (2/12/20) the rate in Thanet is 443.2, and that is as the curve is coming down. The average rate in England is 162.3.

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases?areaType=ltla&areaName=Thanet

Thanet currently has the 4th highest infection rate in the England.

https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/health/coronavirus/these-are-15-areas-england-highest-covid-infection-rates-right-now-2947113

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51768274 (map)

Effect on schools in Thanet

Between North and South Thanet districts, there are 66 primary schools and 28 secondary schools.

https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&parliamentary=North%20Thanet&geographic=parliamentary&for=secondary

https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&parliamentary=South+Thanet&geographic=parliamentary&for=ofsted

25 Thanet schools had reported infections between 1st September-17th November.

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/16-school-closures-reported-to-council-238179/

Schools closing

https://www.kentlive.news/news/kent-news/kent-schools-closed-coronavirus-during-4714303

Boris Johnson on education

keeping schools open 59:08-59:19

priority keeping schools open “we cannot let this virus damage our children’s futures even more than it has already” 20:13-20:50

School absences

Attendance is at 83.5% (as of 1st of December report) for school year 2020/2021

https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Attendance for 2018/2019 was 95.3%

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875275/Absence_3term.pdf

Therefore, the difference is 11.8%.

I will not be using the rates for the school year 2019/2020 as this would also be affected by coronavirus.

Effect on children

NHS report finding 1 in 6 children (16%) in 2020 had a probable mental disorder, up from 1 in 9 children (10.8%) in 2017.

https://files.digital.nhs.uk/CB/C41981/mhcyp_2020_rep.pdf

Gavin Williamson announcing exams will be marked more generously (1:17-2:10)

Parents

More than a million parents believe their child could benefit from professional help in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown

https://www.barnardos.org.uk/news/half-parents-struggle-cope-impact-lockdown-childrens-behaviour

Structure

  • Talk about schools being open, having been shut through first lockdown, and that they face new challenges. Pressures on staff
  • Interview 1
  • Talk about rising infection rates within schools, staff shortages, pupils isolating.
  • Interview 2
  • Talk about Boris Johnson wanting schools open.
  • Talk about the covid infection rates during the last 2 months in Thanet.

Interview

Interviewing Joe & Michelle Pollard, who both work in a school. Michelle works in admin, Joe manages the maintenance and cleaning team.

I planned the following questions for them:

  1. Can you describe to me how Covid-19 has affected or changed your job role?
  2. (Has it changed the amount you work?)
  3. Do you feel like you get enough support from the school?
  4. Is there anything you feel like could happen to lessen the workload you have because of Covid-19?
  5. Do you feel like the school is running at a similar quality as it was before the pandemic?
  6. What are your hopes for the future?

During the actual interview however, I tried to ask questions that were relevant to what they just said to understand more, so did not ask every single one of these questions.

I think the interview went well overall and I know there’s a couple of soundbites in particular that will help the news story.

Ideally, I would like to now interview a teacher or headteacher, however I am having problems contacting any. Instead, I am going to interview a child to get their take on what’s going on at their school.

Interviewing Theo, an 8-year-old school child. I have permission from his mum to interview and broadcast him. [link video]

I planned the following questions for him:

  1. What do you know about coronavirus?
  2. How did you feel when you had to be off school for coronavirus?
  3. Did you miss your friends?
  4. Do you find school harder now you’re back?
  5. How is school different now because of coronavirus?
  6. Do you worry about coronavirus?

When interviewing him I actually found him overall positive about his lockdown period, which is not quite the angle I am looking for. However, he also spoke about how he felt when he thought he had coronavirus, and how he felt. This portion in particular I feel would add to my story.

Script

Since June, the government has been adamant that schools should remain open throughout the coronavirus pandemic. They were closed between March and the end of May during the first lockdown in the UK.

[insert Boris Johnson quote]

But now, schools are struggling with students and staff alike having to self-isolate, with attendance in pupils down 11.8% since the 2019 school year.

This is having an impact on the mental health of both staff and students in schools, as expectations rise, and staffing levels fall.

[insert M interview where she talks about less staff and about how when one member gets covid a lot need to isolate]

In Thanet, infection rates have soared within the last 2 months. On the 9th of October, Thanet had a rate of infection of 21.1 which made it the fifth least infected district in the country. Now its rate is 443.2, with the 4th highest rate in England.

Due to this, many schools in Thanet are having to isolate year groups or close altogether. Since they have reopened almost all schools have reported infections, and 9 in the district have closed for 2 weeks or longer.

Many worry about the impact this is having on both children’s education and welfare.

[Theo’s interview]

An NHS report found that 16% of children in 2020 had a probable mental disorder, up from 10.8% in 2017.

[interview with Theo]

Notes Originally I wanted to focus on how Covid-19 is affecting schools, however I have found such a variety of things so no clear angle has emerged. During my interview with Joe & Michelle Pollard, they both spoke about mental health which I was not expecting. Therefore, I have decided to focus on how Covid-19 has affected the mental health of both staff and pupils within schools, and what contributes to