Empty classroom

Coronavirus crisis: Threats of mass walkouts as Britain’s schools remain open

The PM is holding a Cobra meeting this afternoon

Pressure is mounting on the UK Government to order the closure of all schools over the escalating coronavirus crisis.

With the number of confirmed cases having passed 1,500 as of Monday (March 16), Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being urged to shut down all of Britain’s schools in the fight against the outbreak.

Ireland and France are among a number of countries in northern Europe to close their schools but, as of Monday afternoon, schools in the UK remained open.

Boris Johnson
Boris is yet to close the UK’s schools (Credit: SplashNews.com)

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With experts’ digital simulations suggesting that the UK will not see its outbreak peak for another 10 to 14 weeks, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer have reportedly insisted it is too soon to impose strict measures such as the closure of schools and public buildings.

But on Twitter, Brits have called the lack of action “disgraceful” and lacking in “common sense”.

One said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that the UK government isn’t shutting schools, colleges, and universities. It’s not about students wanting time off, it’s about the vulnerable members of staff that they’re putting at risk. Boris is a [bleeping] joke, I’m fuming. #schoolclosure.”


Another wrote: “UK Government, please bring some common sense into play regarding #CoronaVirus #CornoaVirusUK and stop playing like some power hungry god and implement #SchoolClosure immediately across the country before you have blood on your hands. Wellbeing of our children is paramount.”

A third tweeted: “#schoolclosure shut all UK schools, we don’t wanna get coronavirus @BorisJohnson @NicolaSturgeon.”

And it appears pupils, staff and other workers have threatened a mass walkout this week if nothing is done, with the hashtag #Covid19walkout.

I am a teacher and I’m currently being exposed to 500 people each day.

“Start saving lives NOW…” tweeted one person. “Every single teacher, student, dinner lady, who stays home makes a difference.”

“I am a teacher and I’m currently being exposed to 500 people each day,” another explained. “I stop by my mum’s a few days a week to help her out. She is 75 and has pulmonary fibrosis of the lungs. I’m terrified I’m going to catch it and give it to her. #covid19walkout.”

“Kids, the teachers will support this action,” someone else wrote. “They taught you to think for yourselves and that questioning authority at key moments is the right thing to do. This Government does not have our best interests at heart. You are 100 per cent right. #Covid19Walkout.”

As fears grow over the pandemic and the risk it poses to the more vulnerable members of society, more and more parents say they are taking their children out of schools – whether they are officially closed or not.

One parent said: “Took the decision to pull my children out of school as of Monday. I’m not going to gamble with their health for a bunch of eugenic enthusiasts’ game of risk.”

Someone else said: “Keeping my fingers crossed that this announcement after the cobra meeting is to say that they gonna shut down the schools and do the right thing either way my kids won’t be going #schoolclosures #Covid19Walkout #covidー19uk #CoronavirusOutbreak #BorisJohnson #CobraMeeting.”

“I cannot believe parents are worrying about the local authorities regarding taking their children out of school,” raged one Twitter user. “Who cares what the local authorities have to say, they’re our children!”

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It comes amid reports over the weekend (Sunday, March 15) that teachers’ leaders have demanded a full explanation from the PM over why the UK’s schools have not yet closed.

Boris previously claimed closing schools might do “more harm than good” after Ireland announced a shutdown of schools and colleges earlier this week, following the country’s first coronavirus death.

Now, the National Education Union has sent the Prime Minister a letter requesting “fuller disclosure” over the models informing the Government’s decision making in the crisis.

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