The importance of communication is never more apparent than at times of significant events. From the UK leaving the European Union, to Harry and Meghan stepping away from British monarchy, it is through communication that our realities materialise. Indeed, as scholar Daniel Nelson reflects, it is a truism that ‘wars start and end with words’. It is no surprise then that a deep-rooted concern with getting communications ‘right’ lays at the heart of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic. From government messaging to public health advice, from media debate to conversations with our families, our awareness of the need for successful communications ripples through our consciousness as we try to overcome this disease.
Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, there has been a strong wave of public support for key workers and this has included teachers; for example, they are explicitly mentioned on the front page of the clap for our carers website. However there are widely differing views about the crucial role of schools and teachers in enabling the economy to begin to return to something like normal. On one side the right wing press - and the Education Secretary - cleverly placed this as a call to the 'duty' of teachers, positioning 'hero' teachers in opposition to the teacher unions. On the other, many parents are concerned about the safety of schools for their children. Other UK nations - not to mention some English LAs - take the view that it is unsafe to open schools so soon, as we can see. Meanwhile, the Children's Commissioner argues that disadvantaged children need to return to school quickly.
The social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the UK Government issuing instructions for members of the public to 'stay at home' with limited exceptions for shopping, exercise, medical need, and essential travel for work purposes. These directions are supported by Regulations that restrict the operation of public meeting places (or Third Places) including restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and gyms. The guidelines for entering a public space, and the maintenance of a 2 metres distance from other individuals not of the same household, pose fresh questions about blurred spatial boundaries.
As the COVID-19 crisis has spread, Governments across the world have responded with a variety of virus-suppressing restrictions. Our everyday lives and livelihoods have been upended. We have become locked into an all-encompassing ‘Coronaverse’.
By John Grant, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Construction and Climate Change at Sheffield Hallam University. Reproduced from People, Place and Policy, Volume 13, Issue 2 by kind permission of the editorial team. First published online on Friday 6th December 2019. What do the 2019 General Election manifestoes promise on climate policy? General Election 2019: Environmental … Continue reading Politics of fear or complacency on climatic and ecological collapse?
BY NICHOLA CADET, SENIOR LECTURER IN CRIMINOLOGY, SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY Nearly one in five prisoners in England and Wales are now aged over 50. Reasons include increases in average prison sentence lengths; people ageing as they serve multiple sentences, and a greater proportion of those convicted for historic (often sexual) offences. This third category means … Continue reading A Positive Strategy For Engaging Older Prisoners