I want my kids to return to school. Fast. But why has this decision been left up to parents to decide?
As a fulltime working mum of two primary school students, the last three weeks have been challenging.
Don't get me wrong. The kids have been amazing. Loads of playtime, snacks, daily walks and bike rides with Mum and Dad, movies, birthdays, video catch-ups, more snacks, baking, craftwork, the odd fight, and even more snacks.
Lots of wonderful memories created, all while Mum and Dad continued to work hard full time from home.
So yesterday, when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced schools would reopen for kids up to and including Year 10 when we transition to alert level 3, I nearly cried with relief.
That was until the PM added that students who can stay put at home should do so. AKA school attendance is optional.
What a horrendous conundrum. An ethical and moral dilemma for all caregivers of children between Year 0 and Year 10.
All I can see are two options:
1) We send the kids back to school so we can focus on the jobs we are desperate to keep so we can put food on the table, but in turn have judgment cast upon us by the "stay-home" brigade and risk the health of our darling kids and awesome teachers.
2) We keep the kids home, continue to poorly homeschool them, unwittingly and repeatedly remind them they are not as important as the computers in front of us, maintain the incredibly high stress-levels of juggling both home and work life, and protect the health of our darling kids and awesome teachers.
Well you know what? Both options suck.
Teachers are adamant that distance learning remains the best option. Kids in any school environment create risk for all involved. Ultimately we know this to be true. One of New Zealand's largest clusters was a central Auckland school. The risk of community transition is still too high.
And I am sure no one will need reminding any time soon of the incredible effort the entire nation has made to try and stamp out this horrible illness. Why would we risk undoing all the hard work?
The Government has all the expert advice to make such a call. Why put the pressure on parents? It will only lead to more angst and confusion.
In the new world we live in, I really don't want to make this decision. The Government should make it for us. It has made all the big calls up until this point - so why stop now?