On Sunday, the second phase of the lockdown, was outlined by the PM. With a brief explanation of the post lockdown back to school process. And plans to slowly relax restrictions. Since the announcement schools across the UK have been contacting parents to gauge both their childcare needs as well as their thoughts around a pre-summer return to school.
As with much of the UK’s management of the Covid-19 virus and the restrictions around self isolation, social distancing and the extent of lockdown, most parents it would seem are united in their confusion over what’s best for their children, rather than divided by definitive opinions.
“found that the majority of parents would not send their children back to school as soon as they reopen.”
However, being a full time (working from home) parent with two children under 4, with a (full time) key worker husband, I know from speaking to parents directly that there is a huge need for child care support. Not only for financially reason but from a mental health perspective too. Both children and parents a like are suffering from a lack of income and social interaction.
We decided to reach out to the parent community and collect (without bias) an over view of their thoughts and opinions on returning to school post covid-19. Our only aim to listen to their personal experiences and needs. Here is what they told us.
If our nursery were to reopen in June I would be more inclined to send my son back, mainly to give him some contact with other children and adults again. I think it’s crucial for his learning and mental growth that he spends time with and learns to play with others and whilst he has been at home I have noticed his patience and sharing has slowly decreased and who can blame him! He only goes a few hours a week currently, but I still think it would be beneficial. I also have the confidence that the staff there would demonstrate a strict cleanliness routine and I have faith that they would do their absolute best for the children and all guidelines would be met.
-Stay at home Mum to 1, Watford
I will be sending the girls, if preschool is able to reopen on June 1st. Currently, it is unclear whether they will be able to start up again, being based in a village hall, the decision to open is partially out of the manager’s hands and with the village hall committee. The children are desperate to get their routine back and there are some sensible guidelines in place – frequent hand washing, limited class size, staggered lunch times, no sharing of resources, no sand or water play, regular cleaning with Detol etc. I’m not sure how they will adhere to the social distancing, or how staff feel about the lack of PPE though. It’ll be preschool, but not as we know it!
-Mum of 2, West Berkshire
I’m not sending them back until September at the earliest. I’m viewing it as the government testing the spread. They obviously need everything to get back to normal ASAP so they need to see how quickly it’s going to be passed around again. I feel like it’s treating kids as Guinea pigs. I don’t want to make my kids go to school and tell them they aren’t allowed to hug or play with their friends. They would have to eat lunch separately and work apart. It’s heart breaking. It’s good for parents that work full time to have that option. But as a stay at home parent I will be keeping them off. Even though they are driving me nuts
-Stay at home Mum of 3, Norfolk
My two children are going to school and kindergarten on Monday.
-Travel blogging mum of 2, Slovenia
Our nursery is taking kids of key workers back from next week trialling 3 days a week initially as husband is key worker we can do this. I agree with all the points being made about structure and education but I also think the government is playing Russian roulette with the kids. My son has asthma and is high risk so I won’t be sending him back until I know more. I work 3.5 days a week and will keep him home until I have to go back but will push back on that too. The nursery can’t accommodate kids with underlying conditions and they will be socialising with kids of frontline workers which means the level of infection may be higher. I think the government has shown how irresponsible it can be gambling with the lives of the elderly, kids with underlying conditions are getting sick and I’m not taking the risk.
-Part time working mum of 1, Manchester
Our school is planning to open with classes of no more than 15 max and a rota’d outdoor play schedule for each class. They sent us out a questionnaire to gauge our thoughts on the latest government guidelines they’re following. I got the feeling the teachers didn’t feel 100% about it!
For me it’s an absolute nightmare having to work full time and look after my two, but I think I will try to hold off sending them back initially in order to not contribute to an overloading of the school. However, there may also be a consequence to this in that my son may lose his place at the school he’s in. It’s a really good inner city school so lots of people waiting to to attend, it’s only fair really if I hold him off school, that his place be given to someone else. I’ll address this as each issue arrises, I may have to send him back. But I’ll only do this if I feel comfortable with the government guidelines.
I trust my son’s teachers far more than any politician to do right by him! the truth is though that the longer this goes on the greater the affect it’s having in the shaping of our children’s characters!
-Full time working mother of two, Leicester
Here they want to put cameras into every class so that children who can’t or don’t want to physically attend school can still keep up with classes. The hope being that this also helps reduce class numbers and in return helps to control the spread of any illness.
-Full time teacher and mother of 2, Greece
Not sure with my wife being pregnant, but possibly. We will just follow government guidelines.
-Full time working father of 3, London
What are your thoughts on the subject? I’d love to hear in the comments below. Ultimately each family has to do what is right for them. No matter what the government guidelines suggest there is no collective, one-way-fixes-all for everyone to follow.