No coronavirus jokes or “coughing maliciously”: back to school in the UK

No coronavirus jokes or
Image: Pixabay

The British authorities prepare a “code of conduct” for the millions of students who will return to the classroom throughout the month of September

Educational authorities around the world are preparing for a challenge they don’t know if they’re ready: a return to the classrooms of millions of students in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why each country is developing its own strategies and in the UK they have opted for a code of conduct to be followed.

In addition to the well-known safety social distance and maintaining constant hand hygiene, some schools include a ban on “coughing maliciously” on peers or making jokes about coronavirus. Those who break the rules risk being expelled, following the orders of the British Department of Education.

The authorities want to make it clear that there will be consequences for those who fail to behave correctly: “Adverse experiences or lack of routine classroom attendance and discipline are likely to contribute to a lack of commitment to education when returning to school. That will lead to a higher incidence of misbehaviour.”

Red lines

Each school will be able to implement its own standards of conduct, although there are some that may be common to many centers. Thus, the Guardian advances some of the measures implemented by Ark Alexandra Academy in the city of Hastings: banning “deliberate or malicious” coughing or sneezing, making “inappropriate humorous comments” on COVID-19 and maintaining “intentional physical contact with anyone else.”

The principal of the school, Jerome Scafe, has explained in a letter to parents that “Any student that needs to have a fixed-term exclusion during the pandemic will not return to main circulation until a risk assessment and we can be assured that the student will adhere to all our expectations.”

Something similar will happen with Ark Byron Elementary School in The town of Acton. There, their leaders have informed parents that students “immediately be moved to a separate area” in case they do not meet the social distance and hygiene routines: “Some behaviours (eg coughing deliberately on another person) that were previously ‘simply’ antisocial are now potentially extremely serious”

One of the big controversies in the UK is the authorities’ decision not to force students to wear masks in schools. Many parents have been against this measure and those who have a health problem or special needs have advanced that they plan to take their children out of the education system to protect them from possible contagion.