I’m going out on a whim here and I know there will be many that disagree with me. But, I’m truly in the mindset of you should do what you feel is right and what is right for some, is not right for others. Today, I want to talk about my concerns over my kids returning to school.
Back to School
My youngest, The Little Man, goes into year six on 3rd September. My 13 yr old goes into year 8 on the 9th of September and my 15 yr old on the 8th. And I have concerns about them going back to school.
I want my kids to go back, of course I do. They actually like going to school, they have friends, they like learning, they like their schools and their teachers. They are happy at school. However, I’m a bit worried that this COVID virus hasn’t gone away. We have it under some control at the moment, but a lot of people are behaving like it’s gone, or maybe that it never even existed.
The Little Man goes to a great school and I know they are keen to welcome their pupils back. They have been cleaning and removing things, changing the layout, working hard to make the school safe. I will find out soon the exact plans they have in store for a safe return. And I was feeling very confident.
The government are saying it’s vital we get our kids back in school. They are saying that the children are safer there, that they need to go for their education and for their mental health. They are telling us that children are unlikely to spread the virus or catch it. There have been very few child deaths from COVID.
I have a few issues with what they are saying. Even the language they use proves they are not sure. How can they be sure when the children have not been to school in so long? Where is their scientific evidence that a whole group of kids put together in a building will be safe? There isn’t any because they have only just started to go back. The schools in Scotland have been back a little while and so far only 20 schools have had to re-close because of COVID cases. I say only, because there are over 5000 schools in Scotland and only 20 have had break outs (So far.) But, 20 closures, means lots of sick people, teachers and children. This can be spread to the children’s families. And some will die. COVID kills.
I’ve not really heard much at all from the girl’s Secondary school yet. I’m hoping we will get some further details very soon. They will probably form bubbles, have one way systems, avoid moving between too many classrooms. The general precautions, along with extreme hygiene and sanitation. Brilliant. They are doing all they can.
Now, the girls will mix with about 30 children a day if we are lucky. It will probably be a lot more. But it’s okay because they don’t often get sick or pass on the virus. (Not scientifically proven in a setting like school.) The kids and the teachers may be doing all they can to keep safe and stop the spread of the virus.
It all sounds fine. Until you realise that those 30 children also have families that they are with each day, that’s a bubble of at least 60 more people with contact. And they will have contact with their bubbles (if they are abiding by the guidance) so the number of contacts each day increases. Then there are the families who have not been taking any precautions at all and can’t wait to get their kids back to school. And the families with working parents who have contact with those they work with, those they meet through work and travel. All these connections which are mostly necessary.
Then the families who have just come back off holiday abroad, will they abide by the rules and self isolate for 14 days and keep their kids off school? Some will, but I bet some won’t
We have been staying home. Our contacts have been minimal and we have observed social distancing. As a family we have been out of the home twice since the kids stopped going to school. My daughter has returned to work in a sterile environment. My husband is the only one who has left the house for essentials, and to visit his Mum.
I am vulnerable, I didn’t make the shielding list but my consultant and GP wrote to me and told me I should shield if possible and avoid contact with others as much as I could.
My eldest son is vulnerable, as is my teenage daughter. We have not been dealt the best of cards health wise.
Now we are expected to give up all the hard work we have put into staying safe and send our children back to school or face a fine.
My Concerns over school.
I think I have made myself clear and you may, or may not agree with me. I have no problems with those from healthy families sending their kids back to school. I have no concerns over schools actually re-opening. My main concern is that we are not being given a choice.
I truly believe that those with medical issues that have been doing all they can to stay safe, should be allowed to keep their children home until it is proven to be safe. If the kids go back and after a few weeks we get the real evidence that it’s working out, then the vulnerable will feel more comfortable about returning. If it doesn’t turn out to be safe then those kids will be bringing COVID into the homes of those that may not survive it. I have to consider for a moment, are my children more likely to suffer from a gap in their schooling (not education because that can be provided) or from losing a member of their family, like me, or a sibling? My concern is that we are not being given that choice.
Here is a petition on Change.org to try to stop parents from being fined for not sending their child back to school until they can be sure it’s safe. Please take a moment to add your name, even if you are sending your child back. Think of others.
Here you can find an open letter to Boris Johnson requesting better safety in our schools. You can sign the letter and show your support, even if you don’t have a child at school.
Please help if you can.
Think of those less fortunate, be kind.
In the meantime, I have to wait until I hear from my kid’s schools before I make my final decision. But I’m really not happy about sending them back just yet.
I’d love to know your opinions?