If you have children over the age of 5, chances are it’s this week or next that they will be going back to school during Covid.
Are you concerned about this or are you literally counting down the seconds before you can wave them off at the school gate? (Cos let’s face it, you’re not going to be allowed anywhere NEAR the classroom!)
It’s been 5.5 months since most children were in school full time. Five and a half months of children being at home ALL the time. Of us having to suddenly become teachers and do some sort of home-schooling. Often with disastrous consequences.
For those first few months, having to endure full-on lockdown. Not being able to go anywhere other than a wander around the streets nearby for just an hour a day. Seeing precious grandparents, and other family and friends was forbidden. No matter how masked-up, gowned-up or gloved up with protective unigloves we were.
It was all a little bit shit, wasn’t it?
Going back to school during Covid
So in the next couple of weeks, one of the biggest steps towards returning to some kind of normality is about to happen. Schools are reopening to all pupils for the first time in 5.5 months. Kids will be going back to school during the Covid pandemic.
Despite being told how data shows transmission between children at school and them going on to infect others is low, coronavirus is still very much out there. There are fears children mingling en masse could send us soaring towards a second spike. Although living in the South West, I’d say how busy Devon and Cornwall have been the whole summer, and how utterly shit people are at social distancing, should be equally as worrying.
People are afraid to burst their little bubbles they’ve been used to for the last almost half a year. But this time they have no choice. The Government wants all kids back, whether the parents agree or not. It’s not like they have a choice like parents of some year groups had in June. They’re going back to school during Covid whether they like it or not. Unless you’re opting for full-on home-schooling that is. You’d be unsurprised to hear that won’t be me.
Happy or nervous?
A lot of parents can’t wait to wave off their offspring, (me included) but others are nervous.
I was lucky that my eldest son, aged 5, was in Foundation last school year so was one of the year groups thought to be a priority when it came to some kids going back in June. Whether prioritising that year group was right or wrong is a whole different debate but I for one was thankful. I think bloody elated is possibly a better description.
After 10 weeks of crying into my glass of wine by 5pm each night trying to be a supermum and failing spectacularly, we all needed for him to go back. The twins (aged 3) went back to preschool for two days a week too. And some sort of normality was resumed – albeit for only a few short weeks until the holidays. And then I was back to wanting to launch either them or myself out of a window on a regular basis.
I’m not worried about him going back to school during Covid
And it’s because of the fact he’s already been in the classroom with all the new ways of working and restrictions, that I’m NOT worried about him going back to school during Covid.
I’ve been asked several times by parents of children that didn’t go back, what it was like. And my answer is always fine – totally and utterly fine.
When he went back in June I was nervous about it, despite knowing 100% that I was doing the right thing for us in sending him back. And despite all the judgement that was flying around about them being ‘guinea pigs’ and all that utter bollocks. But I was nervous all the same about what it would be like, and how he would adapt to the ‘new normal’. (Is anyone else already REALLY fed up with that annoying phrase?)
I know all schools do it differently, but at my five year old’s school, we were kept updated with all the new guidelines constantly before they went back, and throughout his 6 weeks there.
How our school tackled Covid restrictions
They included things like this:
- Bubbles of 9-10 kids kept apart from everyone else with the same staff continuously
- Best friends were split up into different bubbles. Basically so they wouldn’t try hugging (or licking?) each other. Or whatever best friends apparently do at school. This was the only thing I didn’t agree on – and resulted in five consecutive days of tears for my five year old. Although I don’t think he actually LICKS his best mates in school but I can’t be certain to be honest…
- Different bubbles had staggered arrival and pick-up times
- Markers on pathways into the school for parents to distance
- One pupil at a time was dropped off so no congregating. This was pretty much like a human conveyor belt but worked so well.
- A one-way system throughout the school grounds using different entrances and exits (bang went my 53 second school run!)
- Kids were met at the door by a teacher and sent through to wash their hands immediately before going to their classroom
- A yellow line was taped on the floor leading them to the toilets in case they got confused (we’re talking Foundation here, there’s no knowing where they’d end up, so this was reassuring)
- Same sort of ‘conveyor belt one-child out the door at a time’ thing on pick-up and no waiting around (I did get told off at least twice for talking and not walking away quickly enough!)
- Teachers didn’t do one-to-one reading with the kids so they weren’t too close
- BUT (and this was the best bit) the kids were NOT expected to social distance once inside their bubble.
If you want to take extra precautions beyond what the school follows, Atlanta rapid PCR or testing in your city can help ensure your little one doesn’t bring home the virus. You can easily protect yourself and those around you with in-home tests that fit into your schedule.
It wasn’t half as bad as I expected
Obviously things have moved on since then, older children will have different guidelines to follow, and I’m sure all schools will interpret the rules their own way. Jeez, it’s not like I’m an expert! But for me the fact the children didn’t have to stay two metres apart was a big relief. I mean seriously, how the hell were they ever going to keep four and five year olds apart, anyway? Thank god they were sensible enough to acknowledge that from the beginning.
Next week when they go back each year group will be a bubble. So 60 kids. Quite a difference to the 9 we had in June. But it also means all the friends will be back together that were split up before, and this is THE BIGGEST thing I’m going on about repeatedly when we talk about going back to school. And he says he doesn’t want to go.
There will still be one-way systems, staggered starts and pick-ups, endless hand washing and me no doubt being told off by a teacher for lingering 2 seconds too long whilst chatting to a mate. But hey…
Twins start new preschool with Covid restrictions
So I’m not worried at all. The thing I AM worried about is the fact the twins start a new pre-school for two days a week (on the grounds of the primary school so no double school run for me anymore – YIPPEE!).
A pre-school they’ve never been in. Other than dropping the five year old there a couple of mornings a week two years ago. But because they were in a double buggy I couldn’t get them through the door so left them outside whinging!
Due to restrictions there’s been no induction, so they don’t know any teachers or what the place looks like. And I have to leave them at the door and collect them 7 hours’ later. Oh dear Lord. I know they’ll cry, and I know that’ll then make me cry. I just keep telling myself that at least they have each other and I’m hoping for the best. I’m also hoping it’s sunny so I can wear sunglasses and not look like a total dick in tears.
Time for some peace and quiet – hopefully!
But then I’m going to come home, drink HOT coffee and enjoy a few hours PEACE AND QUIET. Well, I hope I get at least a couple before the dreaded “they’re still crying, come get them” preschool call…
How are you feeling about your kids going back to school during Covid? Are you nervous? What will you do with your first few hours of alone time?
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Did you enjoy this post? If so, have a read of a few others whilst you’re here. If we’re sticking on the lockdown subject, try The Best And Worst Bits Of Being A Mum In Lockdown. Or 15 Things I’ve Learned in Lockdown – The Realistic Version. And if you want some other parenting stuff (complete with a touch of sarcasm) check out my Mum Life section.
If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.
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