A dad-of-three is calling for ‘clinically vulnerable’ parents to be allowed to educate their children at home during the coronavirus pandemic – without the risk of them being hit with £60 Government fines.
Kieran Wynne has slammed the Government’s insistence that the parents of pupils who fail to attend school during the pandemic still risk being fined.
The 29-year-old Bentilee delivery driver has asthma and takes immunosuppressants and was on the shielding list.
But two of his children – Korey, aged seven, and three-year-old Kayden – are still attending St Maria Goretti Catholic Academy which has had at least one coronavirus case this year.
Kieran also lives with his wife, Kimberley, and their eight-month-old baby.
He said: “We are not given the option to take our children out of school and home-school them. If you don’t take them they fine people for it as part of the guidelines.
“Parents should have a choice to take their children out of school but the schools won’t let you because they have been told they can’t.
“It’s really worrying for me. I know the schools are trying their best but I don’t think the advice from Public Health England (PHE) is right for people like me who are severely vulnerable.
“Some parents have told me that they have friends in different schools who are recovering from cancer and they have still been ordered to take their children into a school which is Covid positive.
“It’s pretty bad and it seems unfair, it’s not on at all.”
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Kieran says parents should be given work to do if they do take their children out of school during the pandemic.
He added: “I don’t want people taking their kids out of school and just playing Fortnite all day. As long as they are doing something at home that’s the main thing.
“You know it’s safe if you keep them inside the house as much as possible. It’s eliminating all the risks of getting coronavirus in the household. The children are the biggest risk because they are the ones that go out.
“I am on edge and worried about it. What the Government is saying is ‘good luck, don’t get the virus.”
Kieran added: “Changes need to be made higher up to support parents who are vulnerable. The Government and PHE must advise schools properly. They must deal with people case by case instead of just giving them a fine.
“Going forward I would like to see more leniency to take children out of school where the parents or someone in the household is extremely vulnerable.
“I don’t want people taking their kids out for the fun of it. There are people out there worse than me and they have been ordered to send their kids in or get a fine.
“It’s leaving vulnerable parents with nowhere to turn to, we feel like we are trapped and we must send the kids in.
“We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. We know what is right and what we should be doing but we are not allowed to do it.”
The Department for Education says schools are as ‘safe as possible for children and staff’.
A spokesman said: “We understand that some parents may be nervous about sending their children to school.
“However, we have already strengthened the protective measures in place in schools to make them as safe as possible for children and staff.
“This approach balances the clear evidence of harm caused to children by not attending school, with the need to protect those at greatest risk from the virus. Any parents who are still concerned are encouraged to engage with their school.”
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