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The UK came to a halt on March 23rd evening.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, addressed the country at 7pm, declaring that the Coronavirus known as Covid-19 has hit the UK hard, and he has no choice but to lock-down the country. You can read the full speech here.
All non-essential shops must close. Only those that stock essential goods (food, drink, toiletries and cleaning products) can remain open. All stores selling nothing but clothes, toys, stationery, etc. must close with immediate effect and all children’s playgrounds closed – for the foreseeable future.
By 23 March, 83,945 people had been tested for Covid-19, with 6,650 people testing positive. A further 335 people had sadly died.
Although I think most of the country were expecting it – especially after how Italy and Spain were being affected by the virus, but it was still a shock to the system.
We were expected to only leave our homes where it was appropriate:
- To shop for necessities, but this is limited to once a week
- For exercise, once a day, practiced inline with social distancing and you must not use your car to drive somewhere to exercise
- For medical needs, or to provide care or help to a vulnerable person
- To travel to work when it it was not possible to work from home
Further to the above, we are not to meet anyone from outside our household, and when out and about, we were to stay at least 2m away from everyone.
Keyworkers were a small community of people… Those who work for the NHS, the police and other emergency services, shop assistants who work in one of the essential stores, transport workers. The list was so limited.
All schools throughout the country had already closed their doors to most children. The only children who were allowed to continue going to school were those of parents who had key worker responsibilities. Many parents took to teaching their children from home (me included).
The days of the lock-down turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months. With daily briefings being given from the Government, we were able to follow the basics of what was going on, but for many, the briefings just caused more confusion.
On May 10th, the Prime Minister addressed the nation again, in which he eased some parts of the lock-down. Some minor shops and businesses could reopen, but with strict guidelines, and that we could expect some more serious adaptations from 1st June, including the possibility of schools reopening for primary school age, starting with Reception class, year 1 and year 6.
The “R” value of the Covid-19 virus was dropping drastically, yet there were many people who disagreed with the schools reopening. “It’s too soon”, were the majority of responses. Even people who I personally spoke to all had one reason or another to not want to send their kids back to school.
You can see a timeline of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the UK by clicking here.
My childrens’ school have been in constant contact since closing. Their teachers have been emailing and telephoning me regularly, asking about the boys welfare, and if I needed any additional support during lock-down. They set up various online learning platforms, and both Gning and Donut completed as much school-set work as possible, as well as working through the lessons that I had put together at home.
I set up a facebook page, and I sent the links to both boys teachers, so they could follow their learning journeys.
We’ve been doing a lot… Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm. In the past (almost) 13 weeks of lock-down, the boys have probably had 2 weeks off their schooling.
We’ve looked at all sorts of subjects… Science, history, geography, music, and home economics (the basics, which every child should learn). We’ve also ensured that we do at least one hour of maths and English each day.
I’ve been keeping all the worksheets and books that they’ve been completing, and both have their own work file… Which started off as a bog-standard A4 ring folder, but I had to upgrade it to an A4 Lever Arch file (each), as the original files were literally bursting open.
On 15th June, I received an email from the school, confirming that Donut would be returning to school on 22nd June. Which is tomorrow.
Classes will be smaller, with a maximum of 12 children in each class, and they will now be referred to as “Bubbles”. Each “Bubble” will have one teacher – limiting the amount of contact from adult-child, to keep the possibility of infection as low as possible throughout the school. Donut will have a different teacher to his usual one, Mrs. L. I explained this to him, and he said there’s two great things about going back to school… The fact that he can see some of his friends again, and that his “Bubble” is called “Bubble B”!!
He needs to go back to school. It’s not because I’m struggling in teaching him at home – far from it. He’s improved so much in all areas – from his reading and writing skills to his work with numbers. Oh my gosh, the child is a maths genius!!!
He needs to go back to school because he’s struggling being at home. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 13 weeks, just looking at Gning, me and his daddy. He misses the social aspect of school.
So, with Covid-19 still being a prominent part of our lives in the UK, am I happy that he’s going back to school now?
Absolutely. The “R” rate is currently 0.7(ish) in the north west of England, and I have every faith that the school will do everything they can to protect everyone (children and staff) to the best of their abilities. I am more than happy with the updates the school have been posting in regards to the safety measures that have been put in place.
The only problem I have now is setting my alarm for tomorrow morning. Wish us luck.