This year has been difficult for everyone. We have all had to adapt to new changes and the impact COVID-19 has had worldwide.
I am a classroom teacher based in a primary school in London. Since April, we have had to face many challenges due to the pandemic. Children have done an amazing job at adapting to necessary changes and staff have been very supportive of each other. We worked flexibly and creatively to help the school run as efficiently and effectively as possible. This last term, however, has been particularly draining for all of us!
Most of us had no choice but to get back to work at the end of the summer break, but we were nevertheless happy with our contribution to the economy and the maintenance of children’s education. What we cannot comprehend is why the government would not want to shut down schools a week before Christmas, when the new strain of the virus was already spreading like wildfire. My school had received five positive cases within a week and they still refused to close the school. On the Tuesday of the last week before the Christmas break, we were given home test kits to do. On Friday evening mine came back positive. I had planned to leave London in order to spend Christmas with my fiancée, but of course, these plans had to be cancelled.
I am now having to quarantine in my bedroom for the next two weeks. This could have been avoided if schools closed early. Neither the school nor NHS has been in much contact with me.
Seeing as the news of the new and more contagious variant of the virus was already responsible for several deaths and countless infections, I believe the decision to keep schools open was wrong and reckless. We all know children’s mental health and education is a priority, but something much more important was at stake here: the lives of thousands of people. Children themselves may not be high risk, but their families and staff could be.
My symptoms are not the typical ones, but then again, I understand they vary considerably. I started with a weird nauseous spell at work. A few days later I caught a cold and had the common flu-like symptoms. Days later, I felt a change in my sense of taste and smell and started to feel a strange sensation when breathing. I have no doubt that I will pull through, others, however, may not be so fortunate. Scientists, such as government adviser Professor Neil Ferguson, had claimed that thousands of lives could have been saved if the government had taken necessary precautions at the outset. It seems as though these lessons have not been learned and that the dilly-dallying is accompanying every new stage of this dreadful saga.
I hope that the government will broaden its views on how to tackle this pandemic and consider everyone’s safety.
Be careful, stay safe, and be kind to your fellow humans!