In the Bible story of Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist, John is unhappy about what is to take place. John believes that he should not be baptising Jesus, that Jesus does not need to be baptised. Jesus reassures John, telling him to let it be so for now, to fulfil all righteousness. It is not necessary, rather it is being done to satisfy the rules of those who are concerned with rules.
It is hard to escape the conclusion that many of the rules being imposed in the name of curtailing of the spread of the virus are about satisfying those who believe in rules for the sake of rules.
At school, the different year groups are required to arrive at different gates at different times in the morning. The Year 7 and Year 8 students spend most the day in their teaching sets in the same room. The students from Years 9, 10 and 11 move more freely, so as to have access to arts, science, design and technology, but must stay away from the corridors of the Year 7 and Year 8 classrooms. At the end of the day, the cohorts leave at different times through different gates.
Notionally, the timings and the room arrangements are to create “pods” or “bubbles” that are intended to restrict the spread of viral infection. Of course, many of the students have siblings in different year groups, so come from the same family homes in the mornings and return to those same homes in the evenings. Students are not isolated from their family groups. Many of them are not isolated from the friends, with whom they walk to and from school and with whom they spend their time at the weekends.
How effective can a pod or bubble be when it only functions from 8.30 am until 3.30 pm on weekdays? And if it is not effective, then what is the purpose of it?
This morning, the head teacher spoke to year groups lined up outside the school in the warm sunshine explaining that they would need to start wearing coats to school and to bring umbrellas because, no matter how inclement the weather, they would continue to assemble outside in the mornings and that, unless the weather was extreme, they would be outside at break and lunchtime. The rationale was that this will reduce the spread of infection, but as they going to and coming from the same corridors and rooms, it was hard to see how requiring that they be cold and wet will assist them in remaining healthy.
There is a hint of desperation in all of it. An incompetent government that failed to deal with the virus in the first place is now attempting to appear to be taking action. It is a matter of rules for the sake of rules.