*I began writing this post a week ago and obviously we have had the speech from Boris on Sunday night which I am still trying to process…
The UK newspapers have been going mad about the ending of the lockdown and some are reporting that schools will go back after half term on 1st June. Education unions are saying no way, Scotland and Wales have said June is way too early. Yet we are desperate to kickstart the economy again but is it SAFE?
Now Boris has announced that Years R, 1 and 6 MAY return on 1st June…
My children are not in these year groups, but, even if they were, they would not be returning to school on 1st June, no matter what the sanction. As someone who works in both primary and secondary schools, here are my thoughts:
Is it possible to have 30 children in a classroom at a distance of 2m from each other? Simple: NO! So instantly we need to think about alternatives such as a split schedule to get all children in for part of the week. But will this help parents trying to work? Again, NO! And what about the teachers who may also have children at home?
All of my schools are cleaning equipment before and after use. This is feasible when there are 10 children present but isn’t practical for larger numbers.
How will parents drop off children? This may have to be staggered to avoid a bottleneck at school run times. What if you live out of catchment and have to use public transport to get to school?
PPE for staff and children
Due to schools being breeding grounds for normal illnesses, I think PPE would be a sensible precaution. However, there simply isn’t enough for every school and it would detract from the NHS supply which is already dreadfully insufficient. As a former dental nurse, I was horrified at the idea of reusing PPE intended for single use.
Our care homes need the PPE to shield our vulnerable elderly as well as staff and their families. Our nurses and doctors deserve better safety. THAT is how we should show our appreciation and respect, although I love the community spirit with our clap for carers each Thursday.
Toilets and handwashing
Children are unpredictable at the best of times. Zach is hideously intelligent but this week he licked the bin. No idea why. He can’t imagine that there are invisible germs, it sounds made up! Hygiene is an alien concept to children.
With the best will in the world, children are not the best at washing their hands and consdiering hygiene. It is estimated that up to 40% of children under 10 have threadworms at any one time (hopefully a lot less now that schools have been closed for almost 2 months!)
Now consider a child has undiagnosed coronavirus and coughs into their hand. They then pick up scissors which they then pass onto their friend before the teacher has a chance to clean. This friend goes to the toilet, touching door handles, walls, door lock and taps. They wash their hands then turn the taps off again, picking up the germs once more. And so on, and so on.
The children hold hands with their parents and siblings on the way home. They pop around to see grandparents who are much more at risk…
These are the most precious things in my life. More valuable that being able to exercise more than once a day or sunbathe in a park. More vital that going out for a meal or a shopping spree. I treasure them more than any freedom, posession or belief.
I will not sacrifice them on a political or financial whim. I hope you stand with me 🙂