Do I send my child back to school?

I haven’t written on here in ages. We have just completed week 8 of lockdown and it is still going on. Infections and deaths are going down and yet fear is still rampant across the country and the world.

The biggest question for parents at the moment is whether to send our children back to school. A couple of weeks ago the government announced they wanted a phased re-opening of schools from 1st June. Starting with Foundation, Year 1 and Year 6. They released guidance which to me seemed a little OTT but reasonably sensible to manage with the fear that is dominating the world.

They suggested keeping kids in groups of 15 plus a teacher and that because you can’t expect primary age children to keep 2m away from each other at all times, that they are OK to mix in those groups but that each group should stay 2m away from each other. More cleaning and lots of other protocols and a lot of hard work for schools to navigate but on the whole, I thought, sensible.

Then, driven by fear, the unions and local authorities have, in my opinion, gone mad. Issuing their own guidance saying children and adults should be 2m away from each other at all times. They do this under the umbrella of protecting people. Some councils won’t allow schools to reopen at all and most are insisting they use awful draconian measures when they do.

The message from them is that it is not ‘safe.’ The children are at risk. The teachers are at risk. Honestly I want to tear my hair out.

Nothing in the world, ever, is 100% safe. We take risk with everything we ever do. When we eat we risk choking, allergic reactions and, if all the scientific research over the last few years is anything to go by, risk of cancer, heart disease, early death etc. etc. We risk death when we drive in a car. Heck walking down the street is a risk.

I read somewhere this week that children are more at risk of death on their way to school (car accidents, being runover etc.) than they are of dying from coronavirus.

The science I have read says many things. One being that children are not badly affected by the virus. They may not even be able to transmit it to others. That is contentious, I’ve read there has been 49 studies that found no evidence of Children transmitting the virus and 1 where they found they may.

The science also says that for people under 60,the risk of dying from the virus is incredibly low, lower still for those under 45. Yet teachers unions are still terrified about teachers catching it and dying. Rationality seems to have gone completely out the window. Everyone seems to have forgotten that people die every day. People die of cold and flu and all manner of things.

My daughter is in foundation, she’s 5 years old. Her school have done their best but they are talking about having her sat at a table most of the day with noone next to her, just her bag with all her things in. I don’t blame her school for this, I know they will try and make it a nice atmosphere for the children but they are being hampered by the rules. There will be no working in pairs or group work. Soft toys and most other toys that can’t be cleaned easily have been removed. She will be taught to stay away from the other children. I don’t want that for her. She loved school and we don’t want her to learn to dislike this crazy version of socially distant school.

I was talking to my 8yr old yesterday and my heart broke when he said “even after coronavirus has gone, I’m going to carry on being sensible and stay 2m away from people.” I told him that no he did not have to do that and it would not be sensible to do that, but that is what are children are learning at the moment. To stay away from other people.

We are fortunate in so many ways. We can be flexible with work and much as I would rather be in the office, we can carry on the way we have been and keep home schooling then while I work part time from home. The kids are happy at the moment but they are missing out on so much from not being at school. Their education yes, but a lot of it is the social aspects. Children learn so much from being with other children and they aren’t getting that at the moment.

There are also many far less fortunate children for whom school is a lifeline, a lifeline that has been taken away from them. All for the sake of ‘risk.’

I get that people want to protect their children and noone wants anyone else’s death on their conscience. But then what? Do we all live in hermetically sealed bubbles for the rest of our lives? Never go anywhere, see anyone, do anything? Do we feed ourselves intravenously to prevent the risk of choking? None of that is rational and none of this is rational.

I want to send my children back to school and I AM NOT SCARED OF THE VIRUS. No more than I am scared of my children falling from a climbing frame and banging their heads, or scared of someone crashing their car into us. Life is full of fear but we have to minimise it so we can prioritise living. At the moment we aren’t living because fear has taken over.

I’m not scared of the virus but I am scared of the social distancing and the impact these draconian measures are going to have on our children.

Thanks for taking the time to write something. I love comments and read every one xx

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