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Should schools reopen in January 2021?

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.
I have previously described the government’s September plans as lunacy as they shirked responsibility. Now is the time for them to redeem themselves. We need to protect our vulnerable and aim to prevent future long lockdowns that would have a detrimental effect on children’s long term education. Now we need clear leadership and direction to save lives. I remain convinced that my colleagues will always put the children first and ensure their safety as best they can. Now the government need to support them and keep them safe as well with a temporary closure of schools.

16 comments

  1. I have a child in secondary school and one in college. Thankfully the college is great at keeping everyone safe but the school not so much. There is hardly any social distancing, they do wear masks and sanitise their hands but it worries me. My dad was so ill with Covid and we have lost a family friend. I think my families health is more important than the kids being in school at the moment. I say have January home learning and go back in February. x

  2. Although there has been a spike in cases, cases are quite low where we are & well below the national average. As we have 4 kids the older ones being off really impacts their education as we simply cannot complete all the work sent home from school and work at the same time, so, while ours are open I’m happy for them to go back as the safety measures in place are so stringent #mischiefandmemories

  3. I came back to the UK to get my children back into education after 5 or 6 tears of home schooling only for all this to happen. My 15 year has thrived at school and is less than impressed at the idea of remote learning tomorrow. My daughter is fine with it and waiting to hear from her college tomorrow what is happening in the next week or two. I just want things to get better and like most people am so weary of the pandemic.
    What I do know is that it is good that women and mums say what they think so thanks for doing that. #MischiefandMemories

  4. I was once a Substitute Teacher. Schools are a breeding ground for viruses, colds, and germs. Because I saw that to be true, I say close schools. Yes, it will pose a hardship to parents who now need to find childcare, however, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. P.S. I don’t have children, however, if I did, I would pull them out of school. #MischiefandMemories

  5. Happy New Year, Laura. I’m in two minds, really since the decision was made. On one hand, I’d like my kids to be in school because their education has really suffered. My daughter started Year 10 in Sept and started her GCSE journey but it’s been difficult with school being on and off. With my 11-year-old in Year 6, he’s missing out on making the most of his last year at Primary. It’s also difficult trying to WFH and have the kids online learning. However, I know it’s for everyone’s safety. A tough situation x #MischiefAndMemories

  6. It’s such a difficult decision and i agree with what you are saying. However, there are going to be so many opinions around this. I am so grateful that we started homeschooling about 6 months before COVID was even a thing, I count my blessings today. I couldn’t imagine having school going children and needing to make the many decisions that parents are now faced with. #MischiefandMemories

  7. Looks like I am reading this a few days too late given the decision has now been made to close schools. Such a complicated issue, but given the NHS is very close to critical capacity then it sounds like it was the right thing to do. #MischiefAndMemories

  8. I am writing this after Boris announced to the nation that we will be home schooling until spring. I am split down the middle as I am seriously worried about my 8yr old sons education, like so many other parents. And the other half of me is relieved that we aren’t forced to send our children to be part of other families bubbles. Whom are quite clearly reckless and not remotley attempting to adhere to any social distancing and health/safety guidelines xx #mischiefandmemories

  9. I’m so glad the schools have been closed, I’ve one secondary school child and one 6th form student and we’ve been sent home a couple of times already. I also have a uni student and guidance there not as clear. I’m sure I would feel way more stressed about home schooling if this had happened when they were younger and needed all my attention #mischiefandmemories

  10. I’m writing this after the announcement too. Even though it’s hard and the little ones education has been interrupted far too much already – I have been crossing my fingers that some sort of buffer would be put in place and schools closed after Christmas. The infection rates are rocketing in London, and I’d rather have everyone safe and struggle with home schooling, than the other way round. #mischiefandmemories xx

  11. Also after the announcement and I must say I was pleased in many ways that school was closed as I have seen the other parents in big groups over the Christmas period when we have been out for a walk and it made me nervous. I mean what would they be doing behind closed doors if they were willing to flout the rules so very openly? However, I am also very sad for my children and indeed for me… I am struggling with home-schooling all four of them already, but maybe we will find our rhythm

  12. Pingback: #Project365 2021 week 1 - loopyloulaura

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