Rachel Johnson calls on Government to rethink school Covid bubble isolation

28 June 2021, 08:05

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Rachel Johnson has called on the Government to rethink its Covid-19 bubble isolation rules as parents struggle to cope with last-minute changes.

She said parents were "tearing their hair out" over their children being "at home the entire time" because another classmate has tested positive for the virus.

Currently, if one pupil tests positive, an entire bubble must self-isolate, with Ms Johnson saying she has heard of schools being "closed completely... many more are on a knife's edge".

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She said: "It's clearly time that this Government rethinks this strategy - you cannot basically shut down year groups, huge bubbles, leading to entire schools closing after a year of such disrupted education, of exams being put on ice, of assessment of exams being cancelled, of children not seeing their schoolmates.

"And finally, they get back to school and lo, one tests positive and the entire class is self-isolating for 10 days. How can this be right?"

Rachel Johnson has called on the Government to change its Covid-19 school isolation rules
Rachel Johnson has called on the Government to change its Covid-19 school isolation rules. Picture: LBC/PA
Thousands of schoolchildren have been told to self-isolate in the past week alone
Thousands of schoolchildren have been told to self-isolate in the past week alone. Picture: PA Images

It comes as the number of coronavirus cases in schools jumped by 70% in the past week, causing widespread school closures and forcing thousands of teachers, children and parents into self-isolation.

There was also a 56% jump among children aged 10 to 14 - mostly for the Delta variant first identified in India.

Ms Johnson suggested over-12s may need to get vaccinated against virus the so schools "don't have to send the whole year group home" when one child is infected.

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She continued: "This isn't so much about health, it's about education, which is these children's human right, which is going to be deprived for yet more long weeks during the summer term, when it should be about sports days and end of term things and outdoor activities.

"Instead, that's yet again something that the younger generation of kids in schools are being deprived of, are lacking, are going without and I just think one little change to that policy could probably solve this huge problem at a stroke."