Friday, May 1, 2020

Back To School On Sunday?

School - so near and yet so far
There were news reports early in the week that Kindergarten to 3rd Grade, and 11th and 12th Grades, would return to school on Sunday, 3rd May.

Facebook was full of it of course. I'd say there was about a 50-50 split of parents who were for it and those who said it was too soon. And all the parents who were for it weren't 100% convinced either. As usual, those with children in that age bracket who needed to go back to work, didn't have a choice. Those with money (either savings or with desk jobs that can be done from home) to see them through another month were able to make their own decisions. Not to mention the gap in mental health between those with outside space and those without. Bottom line - we are not all in the same boat.

On Wednesday elementary schools were told to prepare for Sunday. Kindergartens are deleted from the equation - enforcing social distancing on 3 - 7s isn't practical. The final decision was made today, Friday, and we're still on. I don't believe this is the final decision but I've been wrong before.

Apparently (I didn't hear it myself but someone posted it on Facebook so believe it or not) they felt compelled to ease restrictions because they think that if they don't, there will be serious unrest and actions against the government. It's the economy stupid.

Other news reports say social distancing is falling apart in many places and the government has lost control over it. Lifting restriction on babysitters, how many families can share childcare, opening high street shops, and easing permitted travel distance, have all helped to erode any sense of logic. Although I am sticking to the rules, I can understand others who won't not go to the park with their kids when people can go to IKEA. (News flash - a corona positive man from Jerusalem spent an hour in IKEA in Rishon on Monday. So there you go.)

A poll found that the biggest hurdle to returning to work is the lack of childcare. The classes are being split into halves (no more than 15 children in a class) so there's only room for half a school to return. They assume that 4th - 6th Graders can be left alone, or with siblings, while the parents go to work. My 6th Grader can but I didn't leave her for more than a couple of hours when she was 9.

In my school the following measures are in place. 1st Graders will enter the school via the top gate, the others by the bottom gate. No parents are allowed on the premises. The class teacher will team up with a subject teacher and teach half the class at a time. No other teachers will be with each class. (The class teachers for 4th - 6th Grades will continue with distance learning.) Only one child per table. Playtimes will be staggered and masks worn during the breaks only. There was some more about the toilets and hand washing.

Many parents are scared and not sending their children. Some children live in families with at risk members. Some teachers live with at risk family members or are at risk themselves. So it's not compulsory. Teachers can opt to take sick leave although there is a certain amount of pressure not to.

My take is that it's a national experiment, with the children as the subjects. If it were known to be safe then everyone would go back. The economy has trumped health with the safety net of restricted school so that the hospitals will be able to handle a modest spike in corona cases.

As an overweight, older mother of an only child, single parent, with no immediate family in the country, this does not reassure me. I'm glad my 11 year old is in 6th Grade (and I am on unpaid leave from school) so I don't have to decide whether to allow her (or me) to be part of the experiment. But if I did have to decide... we have a balcony, I have enough money for another month in lockdown, and we are two people in a not tiny living space. I won't judge.


  1. Gosh what a hard situation this is and people having to make choices they really don't want to make, but I just don't have any idea whatv the solution is on the whole. Like you say, you just can't judge others. We each, have to do what we feel is right. Mich x

    1. Yes, I'm glad it's not my decision and grateful that I'm in an ok situation - for now. xxx

  2. For us retired people life actually carries on much the same. Our income arrives each month and we don’t expect that to change. However, I appreciate that it is very different indeed for people in the working population. Also, those with children. It is hard for me to imagine what they are going through. All we know is that this will come to an end. Meanwhile, I send good vibes and love to you all (although I realise that it does no practical help). What else can I do? Much love xxx

    1. I'm happy with good vibes. Thank you. I must say, I quite like the idea of retirement after this experience. xxx

  3. It is such a tough choice for everyone - and yes, you must feel as though it's like being part of an experiment. Canada is letting provinces make some of the decisions since we are such a huge country and things are very different from province to province.
    Ontario is taking things very slowly because we still have around 450 new cases per day. We're not overwhelmed and about 2/3 of deaths have been nursing home related but I for one am very glad that they are being cautious. Tomorrow Garden Centres with curtsied pickup room can open along with landscaping companies. self clean car wash and public construction projects. Marinas and golf courses can start getting things ready but can't open.
    They've said that schools won't reopen until at least May 31st which only leaves June. But since daycares (except city ones for front-line workers) are closed and summer camps won't open it boils down to daycare before parents can go back to work - very complicated.
    I did read about the controversy around IKEA being opened while people couldn't celebrate the national holiday - but apparently the local owner/rep has "connections".
    I now have a supply of masks and more gloves so I always wear those when I leave my apt. as more places are asking that you wear them before entering and I can see it becoming compulsory in public.
    I hope you and DD just stay safe.