It is 08.00 am on Friday 9th July 2021, 297 days from the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year.
We gave Covid 19 the keys to our house on the 1st September, 2020, the start of the new school year. Some 309 days later, on the 6th July this week, the school year finished.
Whoopee! So far, so good! We made it across this imaginary finishing line with no intrusion of the virus into our home and our lives, and successfully remaining physically fit and well.
The same cannot be said about our mental fitness and wellbeing! The year started out with a very high level of stress and real trepidation about the risks of having Child attend school. The abiding recurrent thought was that the school system in France, as in most other countries, had forced us, and every other family with kids at school, to accept an open-door policy for the SARS-CoV2 with the invite to piggyback on the kids to reach millions of vulnerable families. AND, as if that wasn’t enough, the invite included easy access to all the school staff, forced to work every week day in close proximity with large classes of the very same kids.
Obviously, we are here to tell the tale, so nothing untoward has happened so far. Frankly, we did not think we would make it unscathed through the year. We had a very quiet, clandestine celebration in case the omni-present Delta variant heard us and got upset enough to seek us out. We regard this initial success as testimony to our own determination to do everything possible within our control to keep the virus at bay. Of course the school had its procedures as well, but they never appeared sufficiently robust to give us any confidence that they actually provided an extra layer of protection to the kids.
The bottom line: Throughout the school year, we were constantly alert, automatically ‘tuned in’ to the risks and to responding as dictated by the changing safety levels of the circumstances of the moment. Every day, and also in our insomniac periods during the night, we consciously and subconsciously experienced the unrelenting stress of having to live with the open-door policy. Now we have to deal with the summer break, a new circumstance that brings its own family of risks, and come September, Ding Ding, seconds out, the next round begins. So we’re still stressed!
2. And here is why we feel justified to stay on high alert!
It was announced yesterday that there has been an outbreak of SARS-CoV2 in a primary school in the region of L’Herault, in the South of France. No less than 26 children in a single class of 10- to 11-year-old kids tested positive, all caused by the Delta variant all now in isolation; no primary source of the outbreak yet identified; and, no news on any impact on the families.
Doesn’t it send shivers down your spine!: We’ve already examined the potential negative impact of keeping schools open in numerous blogs. There are obvious major downsides to keeping the schools closed, and equally obvious other major downsides to keeping them open. We also accept that social interaction between children is an important element of their education.
Rightly or wrongly, we have always taken what we call the ‘family view’, that health must come before education. This is based upon the argument that any lost education and side-effects of social isolation can be picked up down the line, while a dead parent is a dead parent = loss to child = family disrupted = no contest.
By John Saunders
World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) & INSPIRIT Creatives UG NGO,
MediaWise and MediaFocusUK
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