I AM daily more amazed at the organisational shambles of English schools in this epidemic. Bad enough the ludicrous approach to masking in Scotland which supposes that the virus attacks only those moving between lessons or in communal areas and only the older pupils at that.

Exactly when one becomes an “older pupil” isn’t explained.

Here in England timid school leaders are apparently “desperate for clarification of rules” under the second lockdown.

That transmission rates are much higher in secondary schools than in primaries seems to be the only agreed fact. But aren’t leaders meant to lead, to take decisions? What are they frightened of if they decide not to supinely “wait for guidance” but to make mask-wearing in school compulsory for all those indoors?

Not just when going from room to room but also when in the classroom when teaching or being taught?

Is there some arcane epidemiological law which says that viruses never go into classrooms?

Lunchtimes would be the only exception, though transparent visors would certainly be an option. But social distancing while eating would be enforced.

Finally – I speak as a former teacher of 40 years – it’s time teachers in general bit the bullet and went back to the job.

Even the unions are back-tracking on much of their early hyperbolic concern that staff will be infected. Certainly, in primary schools, infections rates are pretty close to zero but, though they are higher in the older pupils, mask-wearing by all, as much distancing as is reasonably possibly and regular hand-washing will hugely lessen the chances of teachers being infected.

Shame on those tens of thousands of parents who have petitioned to close schools, deliberately risking furthering the damage already done to the mental, physical and educational prospects of millions of children. And shame on the dithering ineptitude of so many English school leaders. You betray the trust of those for whose care you are responsible.

Allan Friswell