Jude, Kids Matter Support Coach, Facilitator and mum of two, describes the ups and downs of strange school routines during Covid (let’s just say it’s a task in ‘extreme facial expression’)…
I don’t know about you, but lockdown 2.0 has felt so different because the schools have stayed open. This crucial factor has given our family some normality and structure and, quite frankly, saved a number of arguments in our home!
Having said that, school also feels so different to what we’ve been used to. At the primary school my children attend, we have a one-way system in place in the playground and adding in facemasks has made sense but does require an interesting new language consisting largely of exaggerated eyebrow waggling and waving. We also have staggered times to drop off and pick up which means only half the parents are on site at any one time. This works really well on a practical level, but on a personal level it’s made a huge shift in who I can see and say hello to, even at a safe distance. There are some parents I haven’t physically seen to say hi to since March, which is hard. For new parents with children starting in reception it must be harder still to build new connections.
I’ve got used to hearing that children or staff within the year bubbles are being tested for COVID symptoms. After the first letter came home to say someone was being tested my reaction was to freak out and have a good cry. I’ve now learned to rephrase those letters in my head so they say, ‘someone in your children’s class has got a winter cough and we’re being careful to make sure it’s not COVID’ which helps me not assume the worst.
Other new routines that I actually hope will stick around are sending the children in PE kit on the day of their PE lessons – they love the novelty of being out of uniform for the day and means I don’t get a pile of stinking PE kit delivered home on the last day of term!
I asked my children what they thought of school at the moment and they said it’s cold in the classroom (windows and doors being left open to circulate fresh air) and that it’s odd having only their year group out at lunchtimes but on the whole they seem pleased to be back and not having to deal with my rather erratic home schooling methods.
I’m mindful that so far our school has managed to avoid numerous cases and others haven’t been so fortunate. 2020 has been such a strange and difficult year for us as parents and families that I try and remember still to be kind to myself and take each day as it comes.