Tuesday, 23 February 2021

To Return or Not To Return...

Back to School?
That is the question.

In Wales schools are reopening their doors this week for all children in foundation phase (i.e. nursery, reception, year one and year two). When the announcement was made a few weeks ago I felt like kicking my heels in the air for joy. 

Marianna is lonely, miserable, and prefers kicking and screaming to any of the work her teacher has set her. 

I should have been better prepared for this eventuality but, sadly, I was an uber-swot who got all misty eyed over stories of Victorian girls and their governesses, quietly practising their copperplate all day everyday. Marianna has a major meltdown every time I try to get her to write more than three words together.

Because she isn't a mini me. I might have been more than happy in my own company, nose stuck in a book and head off in the clouds, but Marianna swerves dangerously from anger to depression and back again.

She's bored, frustrated, and sick and tired of having nobody but her parents for playmates. 

So, what I'm saying is, my decision should be obvious. The school will be open from Wednesday, the government says it's perfectly safe, and I know Marianna's mental health will greatly benefit.

And, yet. 

I trust the government's promises of safety about as much as I'd trust a hungry crocodile not to bite my foot off. 


It's rare for children to die from Covid-19, but they do. There had been five deaths by last August. There have been at least another eight since, including a seven-year-old at the beginning of this month. Just last week a thirteen-year-old with no underlying health conditions died in England.

Hundreds of UK children have needed intensive care treatment, thousands have been hospitalised, and dozens (at least) are now living with long-covid. Statistically the numbers are negligible. For the children and their families every single one of these cases is an avoidable tragedy.

I'm reasonably sure Marianna has already had coronavirus. She was very ill with fever after returning to school in September, although she tested negative then. She wasn't ill when the rest of us contracted coronavirus in October, but if her symptoms were mild chances are none of us would have been able to notice. We didn't get her tested as she needed to stay home anyway and, well, if you've tried to stick a swab up a five year old's nose and down their throat you'll understand why we weren't keen to repeat the experience.

The problem, either way, is that we now know it doesn't matter if you've had it. You can get it again.

Worse than the first time around.

I'm not too proud to admit that thought frightens me. It wasn't the sickest I've ever been, having coronavirus, but then again it wasn't so very far off either. Aside from the coughing fits I felt dizzy and disassociated. I'd pass out and lose time, and when I was awake I struggled to concentrate. It seemed to go on for a very long time and even when it was over it affected my smell, taste, and left me feeling completely drained of energy for weeks afterwards.

Marianna suffering any of that instead of me doesn't even bear thinking about. To continue to watch her spend her days crying will break my heart. To fight the home school battle every day is not good for anyone.

question marks

It all cycles back around to the fact that I don't know what to do for the best.

Online learning for foundation phase will end this week as extra motivation to follow government advice. I have a school governors meeting later as I'm chair of the board at Marianna's school. I have 100% confidence the school will do everything within its power to mitigate the risks. 

But it can't remove them. 

Ultimately the decision rests on parents' shoulders alone. I certainly won't blame anyone who chooses to keep their children home longer. 

I just wish I could fully commit one way or the other. :/

For more like this, please see...
Bringing Up Baby

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