Comment:

Now that a whiff of normality is sweeping back our way, how ready for it are we?

I was surprised to hear reports some parents are fearful of sending their kids back to school next Monday.

Despite Dr Ashley Bloomfield reassuring people that schools are safe and children are low risk, some aren't buying it.

Advertisement

Many parents have contacted me saying they're worried about not just school, but also the school bus. Some kids apparently don't feel confident catching the bus either.

I've had teachers contact me saying they're worried about the lack of social distancing, while others say they hope parents do send their children to school because they can't support both online and in-class learning for any longer than necessary.

I ran a little straw poll yesterday on my Instagram, asking parents if they were worried about sending their child back to school.

Of the more than 3000 votes, 80 per cent said they weren't worried about it, and 20 per cent said they were.

Comments were mainly centered on the lack of social distancing, kids' poor hygiene efforts and some children having underlying health conditions.

And while you can argue it's easier to explain concepts like handwashing, social distancing and why hygiene is important to school-aged kids, that's not the case for littlies.

So what will happen at early learning centres and kindies? How many parents will be dropping children there next week? The proof will be in the pudding on Monday, I guess.

One thing I do hope people adhere to as we approach the winter months is that parents heed the message to keep sick kids at home.

Advertisement

Tempting though it may be to get them out the door and back into a classroom now, how often is it that bugs sweep through a school because sick kids have turned up and passed them on?

We are, as the PM said, a stoic bunch, never keen for a sick day if we don't have to have one. But, disturbingly, too often we see runny-nosed coughing children being marched through the school gates with parents dismissing it as "just a cold". She'll be right, mate.

Well let's hope that doesn't happen this term.

Let's keep any sniffy noses or colds at home. As inconvenient as that may be, it's better than the alternative.

I do wonder also how many parents and children have enjoyed the home learning and may want to pursue home schooling - that the changes made over the past couple of months are ones they want to continue.

Whichever way we return to "normal" education though, I hope parents feel more and more assured as days go by, that school is now a safe place for children to be, that it's a very different prospect to what it was seven or eight weeks ago - and that if we all do our bit in "playing it safe", it will continue to be.

Advertisement