Thursday, April 4, 2024

Heather du Plessis-Allan: I disagree with sending sick kids into school

I'm mostly with David Seymour in that we need to get kids back into class, I'm with him in that we need to slash truancy rates- and there needs to be a very good reason for kids to miss school.

I would even go so far as to say this is right up there in top 5 things that need to be sorted in this country.

But where we part company is on his call to get kids back into class even if they’re sick.

He's quoted some data, wrongly by the way, showing that health related school absences have doubled since Covid. I've looked at the data, they haven't doubled, and David's actually not right.

It's up by 30 percent- maybe. If I fudge the numbers a bit for him, I could stretch it to 60 percent. But he has overcooked it.

Nevertheless, what he plans to do is release some guidelines in the next few weeks giving parents advice on what kind of sickness they should keep the kid home for, like Covid, and what kind of sicknesses they can send the kids to school with- like a sniffle.

But I dunno, a sniffle is not a objective thing, is it?

A sniffle to my boss, I've discovered, is basically what you and I would consider the flu.

Look I can see the argument for carrying on while sick. Kids keep getting educated, workers keep being productive, that's good stuff. But it’s not smart.

If you're sick, you need to get better. And if there was one positive thing that came out of Covid, it was us learning to stay home if we’re sick and not infect others.

It honestly gets on my nerves now if someone who works closely with me, like my boss, comes to work sick. I don't want that. I don't want to struggle through work for a week because old mate didn’t want to stay home.

It also gets on my nerves when people bring their sick kids around. Be responsible, keep that sick kid home. I don’t want a toddler waking me up at 3am with gastro. I'm a working mum, I don’t need that.

Put this in context, these are the actual numbers-

Health related absences were at 5.3 percent in 2019. They rose last year to 6.9 percent, that's not massive.

And if it is because we are more considerate now with trying to avoid infecting others, that's fair enough. Because I've always believed there is only one reason you can miss school and it’s cause you’re sick.

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


Anonymous said...

Spot the new helicopter Mum.

Seymour isn’t arguing kids with a flu variant should be in school, he’s arguing for a return to common sense. You know, the kind we used to see before 2020.

In post Covid times, having a cold, runny nose, slight cough is cause for alarm & several days off work. In fact, it would appear many people stay home or keep their kids home at the slightest hint of hayfever. This has to stop. It is absurd.

To suggest someone whose virus has progressed from a cold to a flu would call it a sniffle is just idiocy; flus are dangerous. They keep you in bed for 2 weeks & have been killing off immune compromised people for decades. This hasn’t changed & Covid was no different.

That is why those of us with a brain always argued Covid was just another coronavirus variant like we see every year.

Instead of splitting hairs over this, Heather should be looking at the overall declining health of our population, including children, & the rates of heart disease & diabetes which easily run circles around any flu.

Gaynor said...

I agree with Anonymous 8:37.

Also , I would add that I kept my son home when he was suffering from school anxiety partially as a result of bullying and also because the child was being taught very little at school.

I admit to having invented minor excuses at primary school for non-attendance because I had a homeschooling programme in remedial maths for the child since the school were failing to provide adequate teaching in basic arithmetic and he was way behind,

Schools I believe are now so ideologically driven they have moved away from effective teaching methods into the Whole Language Balanced Literacy and the equally ineffective Numeracy Project both of these methods are producing appalling results with unacceptable failure. This is without mentioning the perplexing critical theory, trans gender, climate change , Maorification and covid issues .

Parents would have more respect for schools and put more effort into fighting truancy if schools were genuinely educating children not brainwashing them into progressive ideology which actually has no concern for academic achievement which from my observation is what most parents desire for their children.

Start listening to what parents want from a school. School lunches did not improve truancy rates nor does entertaining children instead of educating them.

Anonymous said...

It's time to defund the education system (preschool through University) and refund the taxes that would've paid for it. Let parents fund private institutions that teach children what they're interested in and their parents values rather than those of the so-called elites. Because at the end of the day the goal of compulsory education has been to de-Christianise the West and it has fulfilled its purpose. Western society will collapse within a generation as a result because the family is the fundamental unit of society and it has been all but destroyed.