Miri AF

Massive missives and more

LETTER TO SCHOOL REGARDING THEIR KEEPING CHILDREN IN FREEZING TEMPERATURES

Dear [names],


Following earlier correspondence with the school, I am writing to you as an extremely concerned parent regarding the latest coronavirus protocols being enacted at [name of school], where my son [name], aged [under ten], is a pupil.

While I appreciate the school is compelled to take certain precautions to abide by government guidelines, such as encouraging regular handwashing, I am afraid that I find the latest measures, regarding opening all the windows and plunging very young children into freezing temperatures in the middle of winter, to be both unnecessary and dangerous, as well as lacking in any credible scientific justification.

As I am sure you are aware, young children are at extremely low risk from coronavirus, which is the primary reason the government has permitted the schools to remain open, whilst the rest of the country has been returned to "lockdown". To be clear, children only make up around 2% of COVID-19 cases worldwide (1), and, according to a CDC report, only 0.03% of COVID infections in under-21s are fatal (2). When children do contract COVID-19, they are most likely to have mild or no symptoms (3).

This being the case, I fail to see how mitigating a nearly non-existent risk (that a child might contract coronavirus and suffer serious symptoms as a result) with a very real risk (inducing extremities of cold in young children) is in any way justifiable, especially in light of the fact that no solid scientific evidence exists demonstrating that opening the windows of an establishment makes any significant difference to the spread of a virus. If opening windows is not considered a sufficient anti-viral strategy to allow offices, pubs, restaurants and other small businesses to remain open, then clearly it cannot be considered an effective measure to optimise the anti-viral credentials of schools.

If you continue to contend otherwise, then I would like to see a comprehensive risk assessment demonstrating that opening windows represents less of a risk to all children - including children who are asthmatic, such as my son - than not opening windows. I expect to see reference to a wide range of credible scientific evidence in this risk assessment.

If, however, you cannot provide such evidence, then I request you close the windows and maintain the school at a normal temperature. If you cannot do this for all children, then provisions must be made for my son at least to only be taught in well-insulated environments. He has already developed a cold since returning to school (with no temperature or cough or other symptoms indicative of possible COVID-19), causing him to have missed school, which is very likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the abnormally cold temperatures he has been repeatedly exposed to. I do not wish my son to continue to become ill and have his education disrupted as a result of being exposed to unnecessary and avoidable risks at school, an environment which I expect to be optimally safe and secure.

Please reply to this letter within 7 days of today's date, either providing me with a detailed risk assessment evidencing that keeping young children, with a range of medical conditions, in freezing temperatures all day is not detrimental to their health, or with an assurance you will return the school and its pupils and teachers to a normal, centrally-heated temperature, and maintain a COVID-secure environment in other, less risky and more effective and evidence-based ways.

This letter has been sent to [names and positions] by recorded delivery.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

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