Let’s be honest. When it comes to sending the kids back to school during Coronavirus, one thing is clear – no one in the world has all the facts about Covid-19. To this end, it’s impossible to make an informed decision about anything. The world has been paused. We are now trying to press play without any solutions that will 100% guarantee the safety of ourselves and others.
Until there is full testing and contact tracing in the UK, I for one, do not feel particularly safe. Safe for myself, my boys or other people I may come into contact with. It is my job to protect my boys.
Although the guidelines are admittedly confusing, the message is actually very simple. Minimise risk. As a family of four, we are mostly staying in our house. It is not easy. Financially we are going to be very challenged in the coming months, perhaps years.
The guidelines have since changed and you’re allowed to leave your home more than once a day. It doesn’t mean you should. With a 6-year-old and 3-year-old, leaving the house once is trauma enough. Couple this with OCDs of mine that have erupted since lockdown, it’s not always a thrilling adventure.
It’s mostly me, battling with myself, trying not to impose my anxiety onto the boys but at the same time highlighting to them that licking a tree is probably not best hygiene practice. There is not enough evidence to assure me of exactly how long the virus is viable on specific surfaces.
A new norm
I am not touching anything when I’m out. I carry a pack of antibac wipes in my back pocket. I don’t like the gel as I feel your hands need to be cleaned with soap and water before you use it. We no longer carry snacks so there’s no chance of the boys putting things into their mouths. Minimising risk.
It was my 6 year old’s birthday this week. His favourite dinner is meatballs with spaghetti in a very simple but delicious tomato based sauce. I have spent months perfecting the recipe until the glorious day he awarded me 9 out of 10. That, people, is a parenting goal. He is more food critic than Jay Rayner is.
You can only imagine my utter horror when, two days before his birthday, the online shop arrived without the sodding tomatoes. I am Mama Bear and Bear Cub wants meatballs for his birthday. And do you know what I did, I was brave and I calculated the risk and for the first time since lockdown.I entered a Sainsbury’s local.
Wow. What a wonderful shopping experience. I timed it perfectly. There was hardly anyone else in there and there were two metre shopping sections marked out throughout the entire store. I pretended I was driving a car, coming to a junction, looking both ways, is it safe to pull out? I was exasperated as I frantically eyed the shelves having not been in a retail establishment for months.
My heart was pounding, my pulse was racing. There were the tomatoes. My heart was all a flutter. I picked up a couple of others goodies as the excitement of purchasing was unbearable. I made the decision not to use a basket. In the future, I will disinfect the basket handles but today, my first post-apocalypse shop, I had to keep it simple.
I was so proud of myself. I stood on the little shoe stickers in the paying queue. It was then I felt it. Air con. Oh my shitting hellfire. Get me out of here now.
But how safe is it really?
I gingerly ask the cashier who’s behind a bulletproof screen if he felt safe. He said it was only his second day back. I asked him if he thought the aircon was safe, all the while I was desperate to run. I’d started holding my breath. He didn’t know.
I got home, wiped down the loot, burnt my clothes (not really!) and I emailed Sainsbury head office for comment. Someone called Gavin actually replied to me. He wanted to know which store I was at. I imagine he’s currently issuing a crazy person wanted poster, banning me from stores across the UK. But they can’t ban my crazy worries.
I’ve since had information from sources in the know that yes, aircon is indeed a concern but it can also dispel microbes so it could be a good thing. Or not, see, no one actually knows. And that’s okay. I will, however, have to seriously consider what is worth taking the risk for. Why would anyone risk spreading infection?
Sending the kids back to school during Coronvirus??
People across the whole world are working tirelessly to figure out a solution. We ALL want to see what the new normal looks like.
The least we can do is follow very simple guidelines that reduce that risk.
There are people I would LOVE to see again but I can’t because they are actually dead now. Protect the people that are currently alive by reducing your movements until there is more understanding about how we can move forward.
Control yourselves. Because that’s all you can do. And while I have control over my children, I will categorically not be sending the kids back to school during Coronavirus until there are very clear safety measures in place that even vulnerable teachers are happy to return.