When it comes to COVID hysteria, Edgar Stammers Primary Academy in Walsall, England, has to set some kind of special record.
That takes talent. But leave it to the can-do spirit of the Britishers to find some way to make all things worse.
So, as you know, we’ve all found ways to lower the bar when it comes to how we’re supposed to protect ourselves from the novel coronavirus.
I’m not even talking about mask mandates anymore.
A town in Iowa could pass a mandate in which you could be put in jail if you don’t wear a mask out in the middle of an empty cornfield at midnight and I wouldn’t even bat an eye. You never know who could be out there, after all. And those scarecrows could catch COVID-19, or maybe the corn could catch it. Whatever. This is old hat for me.
In fact, I’m not even shocked if you have to wear your mask to protect your old hat. For all know, your Yankees cap could end up with COVID-19 these days. Don’t wear a cloth mask around your baseball hat and you simply don’t know what could transpire. Whatever.
However, the folks in charge of a school in Walsall — a suburb of Birmingham — have managed to somehow sink to a new low by deciding that what we need to do to protect people is to stop them from eating mashed potatoes with their forks. And knives.
Oh, and everything but their hands because that’ll be what stops the virus from spreading.
“The school has also stopped issuing pupils with knives, forks and even plates over fears of spreading the virus,” Metro, a U.S.-based outlet, reported Tuesday.
“Hot and cold lunches are dropped off to each class in ‘grab bags’ and children are told to wash their hands before and after eating. However parents were unhappy to discover youngsters were expected to eat ‘a small amount of mash served in a Yorkshire pudding’ without cutlery.”
Now, in case you’re wondering, Yorkshire pudding is one of the reasons we declared independence from our British overlords in the first place. (Or, if it wasn’t, it should have been.) It’s a type of pastry made out of popover batter which often takes forms like this:
Chicken curry in a giant Yorkshire pudding? Yes fine then. pic.twitter.com/yJVXDKbjAp
— Chris Tomlinson (@TomlinsonCJ) December 6, 2020
Look, I’m not saying it’s all that bad, but between that and Jeremy Corbyn, I think we can express some happiness we’re no longer subject to the British crown anymore.
Whatever the case, British parents weren’t thrilled with this.
“One parent said it was an ‘utter joke’, while headteacher Darren Mann admitted some of the feedback he’d received was ‘not positive,’” Metro reported.
“Mum-of-two Mariah Drage, 30, who has a son in Year 2 and another in Year 6, said: ‘It’s a bit mad considering they can use knives and forks in old people’s homes.’”
“Kids touch everything. My kids did have school dinners but my oldest refuses now so he has packed lunches now,’” Drage said.
“We’ve been telling our son to keep his hands away from his mouth because of coronavirus and now the school tell him to eat with his fingers,” one father said.
“It’s utterly ridiculous. Have the school not heard of dishwashers?”
The school tried to do damage control.
“As parents know, we have been trying to increase the amount of hot food in the menu, but with the restriction of it being classed as finger food,” Mann said in a letter to parents at the end of last month.
“Today, as part of the lunch, we had a small amount of mash that was served in a Yorkshire pudding to enable the children to pick it up and eat together.
“Unfortunately, the feedback from this from some parents and children has not been positive.
“We’d like to thank these parents and children for their feedback and we realize that it hasn’t worked today. We will look to adapt the menu again to try and make it better and easier for the children. I have also informed our academy trust of our desire to start using cutlery as soon as possible. As soon as it is deemed safe under their COVID restrictions, we will let all parents and children know.”
Meanwhile, the CEO of the Academy Trust, Michelle Shaw, said that hot food and utensils “could not be transported around schools safely” and that the use of “hard utensils which may spread the virus” has been limited.
So kids can’t have utensils because disposable utensils are too difficult or something. Emphasis on the “or something.” But let them clean their hands off with their tongues, that’ll keep the virus at bay.
There’s no evidence schools are a significant vector for transmission, that children are in danger even if they were or that eating Yorkshire pudding with hard utensils puts anyone at risk.
But, hey, if licking your hands is somehow more sanitary and less COVID-tastic than utensils, go with that, too.
Also, they could just not eat Yorkshire pudding, since that stuff is foul, anyway. I’m just saying.