My son is in Year One and so he could return to school today. We decided on balance that we would let him go back. During the walk to school he was neither nervous nor excited about returning; just strangely indifferent. His questions while we walked were the usual bag of six-year-old tricks: he wondered what the day of the year was when we all stayed up really late and fireworks went off by the London Eye (New Year’s Eve, in case that wasn’t apparent) and then asked me why we celebrate the end of December in that way but not the end of May. As usual, I tried to answer him as best I could.
His mood changed as soon as we got to the school itself. Seeing all of his teachers wearing gloves and visors freaked him out a little, I would argue understandably. Particularly given it wasn’t his regular school but one close by that he’d never even been to before. He walked through the gates and then they took his temperature via one of those forehead reading contraptions; as expected, he came out normal on that front. Then he was whisked away from me into a queue of other children. I wanted to hug him and tell him it was going to be all right but that wasn’t part of the set up. Not complaining about that – they have to make everything as safe as they can – but it was still a difficult moment. Thankfully, my son braved it out.
I find it sad that just writing about my son returning to school could be in anyway looked at through partisan political lenses but that, it seems, is where we are at the moment. The right have mostly decided that opening the schools again for certain age groups is the correct thing to do, the left have mostly decided the opposite. I myself have no idea what the correct thing to do is and further, I’m really sick of people who don’t know any better than me about any of this asserting that they are sure that they “know the science”. Particularly given the science on CoVid is difficult because it is a novel virus; scientists are learning new things about it all of the time. I have read a great deal on this topic and I am nowhere near being able to say that I know whether opening schools today is the right thing or the wrong thing to do for certain. As a parent, I’m glad my son gets to go back. He was going a bit stir crazy and was struggling to do any homework near the end of May. He misses his friends and needs some time with people his own age. That’s all I know for certain.
Time will tell whether opening schools again today was the correct thing or the wrong thing to do. Whether it made no apparent difference to the spread of the virus or seemed to have a negative effect. In the meantime, I just wish everyone would stop being so certain that they know what the right answer is at the moment.