Should schools reopen in January? This question was asked in a local group and is one that the nation is eagerly awaiting the answer to!
In light of the new variant, the Christmas mixing of households, our struggling NHS, is it ethical to open schools?
Is it ethical to keep them closed when our children have already lost so much teaching time this year?
As a mum of three children at primary school, I feel less anxious than if any of them were at secondary school. I feel that the bubble systems are working effectively at their schools so that any outbreak would be contained.
As a teaching assistant at an infant school, I am overwhelmed by the support of my colleagues as we work carefully to reduce risks for the children and ourselves. However, I am also exhausted from the constant need to check that I am working as safely as possible. I am cold because the doors and windows are open.
My feelings about home learning are very mixed. Looking back, I enjoyed the extra time with my children but getting them to complete work was often tricky and there wasn’t a great deal of work set by the schools. Now all schools have a remote learning plan so that bubbles can work from home more successfully.
In my new role as an LSA, I work with some of the most vulnerable children and I know that they need the structure, routine and support of education so these families must be assisted alongside key workers by allowing them access to schools.
The statistics for England clearly show that the number of cases rose significantly after the schools reopened in September. It is disheartening to see parents standing around with no masks on, children and parents at the park day after day, the social and family gatherings I see on Facebook because many people think if their children can be safe with 30 other kids each day then the risks must be low.
I fully believe that the best thing for our whole society would be to keep the schools closed in January as part of a 2 or 3 week circuit breaker lockdown.
Allow staff the first week to set the remote learning in place for the following few weeks so that interactive learning can take place at home.
Provide enough time for testing in secondary schools to be properly set up.
Keep schools open for key worker children and vulnerable children.
Get school staff the vaccine as soon as possible.