It is 08.00 am on Friday 27 November 2020, eighty-eight days from the start of the school year.
The cheery thing to report
Hooray! Child had a lovely little birthday! It was weather friendly (sunny and warm!), Covid 19 friendly (we were outside) and lockdown friendly (restricted to one hour + limited young guests + the recommended social distancing for the supervising adults + limited to one per guest). Mum and dad commandeered a bench in the local park, laid it out with some goodies to enjoy. The kids (they all mix anyway every day at school) had a ball meeting up this unusual way. They entertained themselves (chasing each other crazy around the park), only stopping to catch breath or fill their tummies) while mum and dad looked after the parents. All in all, a lovely hour was had by all. Mum and dad and Child were very happy that day, big smiles on their faces and in their hearts. In fact, it was such a good solution that it will be adopted for all the birthdays to come – no hassle, no monitoring of what is going to be broken, spilled or scratched in the house.! If only every November to come is sunny and warm!
One primary school teacher says thank you to Covid 19! This was the headline last week on the website: Coronavirus: ‘Scrapping my teaching plans was the best thing I’ve done’ | Tes describing her own assessment of the virtues of the virtual classroom:
‘Scrapping my teaching plans was the best thing I’ve done’.
This particular primary school teacher was very positive about the benefits to her pupils, writing:
‘Over the past six months or so, I have stripped back everything my practice consisted of in March, knocked down all my expectations and targets, scrapped any plans I had for the year, set everything on a metaphorical fire and watched everything burn. It was the best thing I have ever done. Our world is different, our lives are different, and anyone who has children or teaches them, has seen that they are also different’.
The teacher concludes that, despite the initial forced transition to virtual schooling, with her pupils stumbling blindly around in this strange ethereal environment, the children did not take long to:
‘develop independence, resilience, communication, problem-solving, planning and organisation skills, purely through digital learning and through my letting go of my ‘control’ as a teacher. I watched many of my own pupils thrive. I learned to let go of my own insecurities about being in control as a teacher, to let go of the need to guide my class through everything. Now, back at school, I am trying to harness everything that I saw happening in my virtual classroom. As I attempt to rebuild and redesign our curriculum to fit our new world of more agile, independent and curious learners, I am constantly questioning, rethinking, building, tearing down and rebuilding once more’.
Mum and dad really welcomed this new insight. It’s a thorny problem, knowing what to make of virtual teaching (so many conflicting reports!), particularly when compared to the hugely satisfying human and educational response they experienced when Child eventually returned to school – it was like the baby duck who had at last found her duckpond again. But, maybe, just maybe, there is an answer here somewhere, about how best to bring in the best of the children’s virtual world to manage the ‘I’m bored, bored, bored complaint’, particularly rampant during the school holidays! (Mum and dad have already banned the worst of this world from the house, it was grooming Child to become an aggressive, demanding monster!)
The not-so-cheery thing to report: Nothing new about school or class closures this week. Where are they hiding this material? See below for a lot more ‘not-so cheery’ stuff!
The French lockdown, 28 days on?
This week, the ‘men-in-charge’ announced ‘an easing of the restrictions’ starting tomorrow 28 November. This decision was on the basis of either – thinking / believing / imagining / knowing / assuming /confabulating / lying (please choose the verb you prefer, dad cannot make up his mind which one fits best) that this short lockdown has made good progress in bringing Covid 19 under control. We can all now:
Mum and dad’s assessment: The only good news is that the bars, cafes and restaurants remain closed until 20 January. The real bad news – it looks like Covid 19 is going to have a bonanza Christmas and New Year as more and more humans play Christmas fairies, interacting far too closely with more and more humans. So our family lockdown will continue through this Covid 19 infested, festive season!
Number of daily new Covid 19 cases and deaths in week 4 of lockdown, as at 27 November?
Sorry, dad got really saddened filling out the daily lockdown figures of new cases and new deaths. He felt it was much more important to protect his Covid 19 damaged psyche. With no deep thought, he just it shut down as the source of the constant reminder that none of us would be in this
shit mess, if only humans had avoided infecting other humans and spreading it all over the planet. So, here is a very brief summary of the European picture, the France picture and the latest lockdown news:
These countries included: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, FRANCE, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Mum and dad’s assessment of the numbers:
Next, let’s correlate the rate of Covid 19 new cases with the rate of Covid 19 testing
Again, these screenshots are courtesy of the ECDC programme.
Testing rate: During the first three weeks of lockdown, the rate of testing dropped by around 50%, from 2,500 per 100,000 down to 1,250 per 100,000
New cases: numbers rose dramatically in wks 1 and 2, and fell, just as dramatically, in wks 3 and 4
New deaths: in contrast to the rapidly occurring changes in the rate of new cases, the rate of new deaths continues to steadily rise
Mum and dad’s assessment: the message looks blindly obvious!
The easiest, quickest, simplest way of ‘showing’ that the numbers of new cases are ‘dropping’ dramatically (and so be able to infer and then tell the population that this latest wave is being brought under control), is just to stop testing nearly so many people.
No test = No result = No positive case to report to ECDC or WHO = job done, the new cases drop!
Or, in agricultural parlance, if you don’t lay so many eggs (the tests) you don’t get so many chickens (positive test results)
So, Dear Reader, what do you make of mum and dad’s solution: agree? disagree? nonsense? an attempt at fake news? just another conspiracy theory? Why not spin the wheel, make your choice and tell them how right or wrong they are?
As with every other family everywhere, except those who plan to ‘enjoy’ the whole social nine yards of traditional Christmas & New Year celebrations, (so that all their loved ones get every chance to receive the unwelcome gift of catching Covid 19) this family is engrossed in planning an itinerary that provides the very best of relaxation, entertainment, good home food and family Skype & Zoom sessions over the holiday.
Finally, after 88 days of exposure to school, what about Mum and Dad – are they coping?:
They have already discovered that the act of expressing their feelings in this blog is an excellent way of extinguishing the red-hot magna of their frustrations. They automatically feel better. The experience seriously energizes their capacity to cope. So, last week, mum and dad had a moan at Covid 19, when they wrote: ‘It’s really difficult at times to stay cool under fire from a weapon that can play havoc with your conscious and unconscious nervous system all the time, and kill or maim you at any time.
So, this week, given the ‘almost fake news’ from the French ‘men-in charge’ about how effective the latest lockdown has been, such that they can start to phase out the restrictions, it is their turn.
Having to live with Covid 19, it really would be much easier if we could all have confidence in what the ‘men-in-charge’ are telling us and blindly, tacitly, unthinkingly, AGREE with them – Yes Sir, No Sir, three bags full, Sir, What? – jump Sir? – yes how high?
BUT, they make it so difficult! The lockdown has not brought the pandemic under control and now, tinkering with the restrictions, and giving in to practically all of the entities lobbying for Christmas (and its boost to the economy) to be spared, the only winner will be, once again, Covid 19. Let’s be crystal clear about this: THE VIRUS DOES NOT TAKE HOLIDAYS, DOES NOT RECOGNISE CHRISTMAS, IS ON DUTY 24/7, READY TO DO THE JOB IT IS DESIGNED TO DO!
As in numerous other countries, the driving force in France is to keep as much of the economy going as possible, accept the consequence that this stimulates the Covid 19 pandemic, then hope / pretend that they can still effectively protect the health of their nation, despite the consequences of their own actions. It is not rocket science to recognise that protecting the economy before health simply makes the pandemic worse, leading to what mum and dad call ‘the hokey -cokey lockdown seesaw’ of: on – off – adjust – tighten – loosen – say a prayer – ignore – on – off – adjust again – and round we go again, all together now, get ready – on – off – on – off. So there, French ‘men-in-charge’ take that. And now, mum and dad are automatically uplifted. Yes, all things considered, they are coping very well.
By John Saunders
World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) & INSPIRIT Creatives UG NGO,
MediaWise and MediaFocusUK
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