"Petrified" teacher losing hair and sleep over having to return to classroom

31 December 2020, 11:07

By Fiona Jones

Teacher Lauren told LBC she is "petrified" about returning to teach in a classroom during the pandemic and is losing both hair and sleep at the thought.

With pupils due to return in 4 January, many educators have raised concern about in-person lessons - with SAGE member Susan Michie insisting that learning should be remote for the whole month.

However, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told LBC on Thursday morning that schools are "incredibly safe", having announced that it is only schools in Covid-19 hotspots that will remain closed for the first weeks of January.

Talking to Matt Frei, teacher Lauren said she did not remember signing up to risk her or her families' lives when she became a teacher eleven years ago, and the fear is having its effect.

"My mouth is full of ulcers, I'm genuinely losing my hair, losing sleep and this is just so terrifying for all of us," she said.

Lauren pointed out that teachers had not stopped working throughout the pandemic and instead just taught remotely: "There was not a single day of the lockdown from March onwards that I did not teach my entire timetable on Teams.

"My class has had limited educational impact."

Lauren continued, "I did not sign up to be a doctor or a nurse, I did not sign up to do that. My job should not carry that risk. Also doctors and nurses have PPE. We are teaching without masks."

Gavin Williamson announced that some schools will remain closed when speaking in the Commons, branding it a "last resort."

He said the "overwhelming majority" of primary schools will open as planned on January 4, but added: "In a small number of areas where the infection rates are highest we will implement our existing contingency framework such as only vulnerable children and children of critical workers will attend face to face."

A list of affected areas was later published on the Government website, and included large areas of London, Essex and Kent, as well as parts of East Sussex, Buckinghamshire and Herfordshire. For secondary schools, pupils in exam years will return on January 11, with all secondary and college students returning on January 18.

For a list of the areas affected by school closures, read more here.