Welsh Youth Parliament members call for ‘proactive’ school closures to slow coronavirus spread

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Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament have called on the Welsh Government to be “proactive” in closing schools in Wales.

The letter signed by 20 members of the Youth Parliament has been sent to Health Minister Vaughan Gething and Education Minister Kirsty Williams.

In the letter, members say that although children and young adults usually experience a mild form of coronavirus they can play a large role in spreading the virus throughout communities.

The UK Government have said that they do not want to see schools close as it would force parents to stop working, in particular those caring for patients in the NHS.

However, the primary signatory, Jonathan Powell, the WYPM for the Wrexham Constituency, said that the Welsh Government should act “quickly and decisively”.

“Young People understand that the Welsh Government are following scientific advice but are questioning how Wales’s scientific advisors are more qualified than those of the other 61 nations?” the letter says.

“The young people of Wales are concerned and demand clarity.

“Encountering children who may have been exposed to the virus puts other parents, teachers, school staff, and vulnerable students at risk.

“Many children use public transport each day to reach their educational institutions and this, in turn, will lead to the spread of the virus.

“Due to this reason, a significant amount of countries have decided that closing schools will not only protect children but prevent wider spread.

“Closures early in such an epidemic are more likely to be effective hence why according to UNESCO, Governments in 61 countries have announced or implemented the closure of educational institutions in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease and 39 countries have closed schools nationwide, impacting over 420 million children and youth.”

 

Treatment

The letter also refers to the fact that the virus could put children’s health at risk, particularly those who are suffering from athsma.

“It is also paramount that we take into consideration the substantial number of children who suffer from asthma and issues with their immune system,” the letter says.

“Asthma prevalence in Wales is reported to be one of the highest in the world with Asthma UK Cymru findings suggesting there are 55,000 children living with asthma in Wales.”

Two Universities in Wales, Bangor and Swansea, have already announced that they are suspending face to face teaching to slow the spread of the virus.

Bangor University is to suspend face-to-face lectures from tomorrow onwards while Swansea University plans to do so from the 23rd of March. Online teaching will continue.

The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales reached 94 over the weekend, Public Health Wales (PHW) has said.

However, the true number of cases is likely to be higher as officials are concentrating on testing those sick enough to need hospital treatment.

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Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

In countries where it was first decided into close schools it was appropriate because on enquiry it was discovered the particular schools were the centre of the infection cluster.
It sounds like ‘close the schools’ is a bandwagon to be jumped on by immature and ill informed commentators as in the entitled kids in the ‘youth parliament’.

Alwyn
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Alwyn

Alternatively, it could be that the informed and committed members of the Welsh Youth parliament are more in tune with scientific opinion than the UK government whose lead Welsh Government so slavishly follows

Child
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Child

Unfortunately for you keeping the schools open will lead to a rapid spread of the virus which will undoubtedly lead to old people like you being ruthlessly killed by coronavirus and not being able to receive treatment because like Italy the government will abandon old useless sod’s like you. Also think about this – schools are some of the most unhygienic places on the planet, none of the boys toilets in my school have soap. Also calling the youth parliament “entitled” you were most likely fed with a sliver spoon and hustled through university using your daddies cash.

Gareth Westacott
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Gareth Westacott

….. but on the other hand, if the kids have to stay home and the parents have to go to work, who will be called upon to look after the kids? Yes, the grandparents – who are some of the most vulnerable in the community.

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Evidence not emotion is useful in taking decisions, that’s why giving votes to immature youngsters could be an error. Any evidence current UK virus cases are spread from schools? No. Any evidence I am old? No Have you defined the age range of old? No Any evidence of ‘silver spoon’ circumstances in my life? No Any evidence of me being hustled through university? No Have you defined what you mean by ‘hustled’ in a university education context or are we all supposed to know? Any evidence of ‘Daddy’s cash’ existing ? No I think I’ve made my point. But fair… Read more »

Child v2
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Child v2

That’s a fair point. Regarding the workers staying at home, the institutions that need closing are high schools universities and colleges , which happen to be places were there are 1000’s of kids every day ( a mass gathering) from all walks of life who are also very active members of the community. These are the places that MUST be close as a preventative measure. Luckily all children in these institutions are old enough to look after themselves for a day, old enough to cook their own lunches and have enough common sense to get by, if this isn’t the… Read more »

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Some good reasoning there, V2. Feed that back to your contact at Youth Parliament and get them to use their influence.

Mum
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Mum

Be. Careful. My son is a member of youth parliament and the furthest thing from entitled. These young people have an extremely diverse range of backgrounds. They were voted in by their peers to represent them for various reasons. If a Youth Parliament wasn’t important it wouldn’t have joint sessions in the Senedd. Be respectful.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Using a phrase like …”useless old sod’s like you..” undermines whatever merit may have existed in the rest of your comment. Given your user name you may well be at an early stage of your development but you are already displaying certain intolerant fascistic traits as you most probably have no idea how old “Plain Citizen” might be, and the terms “useless” and “sod’s” are just right for a bully boy (or girl) who aspires to wear a brown or black shirt and attend rallies. A command of grammar might inform you not to use “‘s” when referring to the… Read more »

Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

Calls for “quick and decisive” action by a member of any parliament is usually the first piece of evidence that not much thought has occurred. What we want are the most effective actions and sometimes that requires deliberation and consideration which is not the same as vacillation. Scientific advisors may be taking local issues into account – one of the benefits of devolution.

Kerry Davies
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Kerry Davies

I live on a small estate in a small Powys market town and the estate is mostly older people with one third of us living in adapted flats for the disabled, elderly and vulnerable. We see the kids traipse through the estate to catch the school bus and traipse back after school but we only ever meet the kids during school holidays. That’s when they lurk around looking suspicious (not as suspect as we used to be!) and run more chance of infecting us all. An epidemiologist should decide whether closures are best and certainly not a politician of any… Read more »

Joe
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Joe

What’s needed most of all is definitive leadership and organisation ..thank goodness the YP have raised the issue as all I see are ill informed & I’ll prepared politicians not providing any clarity because they are scared of upsetting the apple cart..Thank you Youth Parliament .BTW some Schools have made contingency plans over the weekend including virtual lesson plans , provision for most vulnerable ( WG just need to grow a pair and get the info out there for heads to make decisions)

UKGill
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UKGill

It is indeed a dilemma and, as with many things, one approach vs another is not proven at this point. There are choices as to how to handle this pandemic, and the UK has chosen a strategy different from other countries – to build up immunity in the community to protect people from when the virus come around again (who knows if it will or won’t, there is no current way of telling but if it does before a vaccine is available, other countries may well be in the same boat as they are today but IF successful the UK… Read more »