Should Children Return to School?

Are we right to send children back to school with the recent virus updates?

It is within trepidation that this week many children in the United Kingdom will return to school. This term, more than ever, there is real concern over the return to classes. This is understandable, especially as there is a new strain if Covid which appears to be spread through the younger age group. As a teacher and parent, I share these concerns. Especially with the conflicting information which we are currently bombarded with.

One headline caught my interest in the weekend. It said that an eight-year-old had died of Covid. Enough to make most parents stop. However, when I investigated further the young person had been suffering from leukaemia. It was this condition, that sadly took his life, not the positive Covid test. He had no symptoms of Covid. It is this type of irresponsible reporting that creates additional anxiety in parents.

School Returning Facts

I am reluctant to give a general overview of schools returning or not returning. The information is so contradicting between districts and schools.

To give you one exam, if your child is classed as vulnerable they can return to school immediately. For all foster parents who read this, your children are vulnerable through their looked-after status. Children of key workers can also return.

What I will advise is to contact your school and speak to them. As a teacher, we are as worried as parents about the return to school. This has been evidenced by the reaction of the teaching unions. It isn't that teachers are lazy, a criticism is thrown by some. We want to maintain the safety of your families and ours.

Secondary schools will be introducing testing for students. A mammoth task, which has once again been left to schools to arrange with little guidance. Rest assured we will succeed, but it will take time.

My one piece of advice

Do what you believe is right for your children and family. Mr Johnson may have threatened to prosecute families who don't send their children back. Many authorities and schools have said that this will not be the case. At the end of the day do what you feel is right. It is your right to protect your children how you see fit. No one should tell you any different.

Homeschooling is an option for some families. The impact of this long term will stretch beyond the pandemic, but again this is your choice.

Finally words

This will get better there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your child's mental health is more important than their grades. Your child is not falling behind in their studies, they are surviving a pandemic. They will be learning skills that will stay with them for life even if these aren't academic ones.

I want to finish by wishing you all a Happy Safe and Healthy New Year. Thank you for your support with this magazine and feel free to contact me with any individual concerns and questions you might have.

Stay safe.