Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Diary: Testing times...

Well, that didn't last long. Just under a week since starting back at school and Charlie's home again, in isolation, one of his friends having tested positive in that morning's school administered lateral flow test. He seems genuinely upset; I can't help reflecting on how pleased I'd have been, at his age, to be sent home from school again. I think lockdown would have suited me perfectly. I always fantasised about living in Australia, in the outback, and attending school over the airwaves. I have a Ladybird book to thank for that. But I digress...

Charlie, like most people his age it seems, unlike his dad at a similar age, wants to be at school. His dad - at the age I am now - wants him to be at school, too. But he can't go. He can't return until March 29th, just in time to get a few days in before the Easter hols. By the end of this term, he'll have physcially attended a total of about eight days since mid-December 2020.

The odd thing, though, is that it shouldn't be this way. His friend duly went and got a (much more accurate) PCR test, which turned out to be negative. But none of the bubble is allowed to return until the isolation period triggered by the initial test has been completed, not even if they all do subsequent tests, all of which prove negative.

Am I the only one to detect the cack-hand of Gavin Williamson in all this?

To outline the situation in all its Kafka-esque absurdity, until tomorrow a lateral flow test done in school will trump a PCR even though the latter is acknowledged to be much better and even though the opposite rule applies for health workers.

But AFTER tomorrow a positive LFT will be bested by a negative PCR even though NEITHER will have been supervised in school!

Is it any wonder the DfE makes such a cock-up of every policy and contingency it cooks up to deal with those other tests, the ones taken by kids with a biro in their hand rather than a cotton bud up their nose? 

Perhaps the word "test" brings the entire department out in a blind panic, running around like headless chickens until they've settled on some solution Gavin can take back to the House of Commons, to be delivered at the dispatch box by a man with all the intellectual nouse of (together with an uncanny vocal likeness to) Frank Spencer. 

Ooh, Betty!

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