|School - so near and yet so far|
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.