When Boris announced on the 10th May, that schools could re open providing the 5 tests had been met. I was more than a little annoyed! especially given the year groups he was proposing, Reception, Year 1, Year 6 and Nursery if one was attached to the school. Well there is at our school, so that would mean all of mine would be back.

How can anyone expect 3, 4, 5, 6 year olds to firstly understand social distancing and secondly remember to stick to it, once they see their friends? Friends they haven’t seen at that point for 10 weeks, how hard is it for us as adults, bumping into a friend at the shop, or when we go for a walk? When we can’t walk next to them, hug them or greet them in the usual way? And we’re expecting children some of which are merely toddlers, to cope with remembering not to run up to their friends and hug them tightly.

I’ve had a letter from the school outlining their proposal for how school life will work come June 1st, and honestly it reads like they’d be in military camp, expecting to follow more rules than they can comprehend. Remembering to protect their bubble, and not pop someone else’s. This is a tactic they’re using to try and help them understand social distancing. They have to be in social groups of 15 not necessarily with their teachers, they have to be dropped off and collected at times designated to their social group. So how would that work for me? If the twins need dropping at 8:45 and Draven needs dropping at 9:15, what am I supposed to do with Draven for half an hour? We live 3 miles away from the school, so we can’t go home. And we’re being asked to not take other children onto school grounds if at all possible, it sounds like school is going to be no longer the loving safe environment they’ve all come to love.

So we’ve made the decision to not send them back, if school opens on June 1st, ours won’t be going. I cannot put them in a situation I feel is going to be detrimental to their mental health, and that is all I can see happening here, the kids are going to struggle massively with having to make huge adjustments to how they’ve come to know school. And on top of that they’re not going to be able to play with friends, hug their teachers, sit by their best friends and do all the things children should be able to do at school. I don’t want to be dealing with children coming out upset because they forgot the rules on social distancing and were told about it, now I’m not saying teachers are gonna be telling the kids off but Cosima becomes incredibly emotional when she feels she’s done something wrong, she absolutely hates doing anything wrong. I know full well she’ll forget especially when she sees her best friends she’s a very loving little girl, who showers her friends in hugs, and touches and gifts of drawings, beaded bracelets etc. And she will be beside herself if she needs reminding she needs to step away from someone, and how will it work with her twin brother who is in her class currently are they going to have to remain apart? or will they be separated and put in separate classes so they can keep them apart, meaning there’d be 3 drop off and collections.

For me I think it’s ludicrous saying the kids in these year groups can go back first, and yet we can’t see family! How can it be acceptable they can sit in a school with other kids but cannot see their grandparents?

I’m not saying September is going to be any better, but I’d sooner wait it out, these kids don’t need to be in school especially with what is being proposed, this is just going to add more trauma further down the line. They need to see family first and be able to play with their friends long before they need sitting in a classroom. Now obviously I’m speaking from a privileged position here, I can be at home with them and I don’t have to leave the house in order to work. And I understand there are people out there who need their kids within school right now because they’re key workers, that should be extended to people who need to go back to work in the sectors that have recently been allowed back, those of us that can be at home with our kids should keep them at home.

It isn’t fair on the schools let alone the kids, our school especially doesn’t have the capacity to divide all the classes in to smaller groups and give them all their own space. And what happens to the key workers children now? if they’ve been used to dropping them at 9am but they’re put in a social group that doesn’t start until 9:30 how will that help anyone?

I’m not sending them until we can see family, that would help my children especially more and help their mental health. They’re desperate to see my Mum, and go and stay at hers, they phone her most days and often cry about not being able to stay at hers. They’ve gone from seeing her two or three times a week and staying over at weekends to nothing, and that alone has effected them massively as well as my Mum, she misses having them, seeing them, being with them and us.

It’s awfully kind that we won’t be fined for not sending them back in June, but honestly I wouldn’t care if we were, I’ll do what is right by my children and what is right for their mental health long before I do what’s right for the government. It just feels like they’re sending the youngest ones back as a social experiment to see if we get a second wave, and doing it 7 weeks before they break up for the summer is perfect it means we get the second wave out the way before we hit the start of flu season in October / November. *Slow hand clap*

Still doesn’t make sense why they’re starting with the youngest groups, and just saying they’re in the least at risk group is still not acceptable, they’re in a group that doesn’t understand social distancing! I drove passed several adults today who looked like they were attempting social distancing whilst still walking on a 3ft wide public footpath, if adults can’t grasp it how are we expecting 4 year olds to!

I’m not attacking any parent that feels they want to sent their children, honestly we all have our reasons for why we choose to do anything parenting wise. What I would ask parents to consider is the mental health impact it will have, if you feel they would benefit from school, and yours is open then by all means send them and try it out. But consider the impact before making your decision, I spoke to Draven and explained what school had said about what would be happening in school, and he cried saying it sounded lonely and he just wants to be with his friends, he doesn’t want to go back until he feels it’s safe to do so. And that is fine by me.

 

Nicci x


Also published on Medium.