WARNING: This is a covid related post… it may contain grotesque examples of confusion.

This friendly bird is a frequent visitor who keeps returning for a daily meal. A visitor who doesn’t bother with social distancing rules but is far too fast for my poor mobile to get a truly in focus picture. On the subject of RETURNING.

The school return question is starting to be vexing again. When the schools closed down a few weeks back the advice was that they would be closed indefinitely. Exams in June and July cancelled. They would certainly remain closed until the virus was under control and the country had implemented systems to keep track infection rates. A return was not going to happen until it was safe to do so.

Let’s set the context in the UK.

  • Each day a 1000 people are dying in hospitals as a result of the virus and the numbers are continue to rise. The UK is likely to have the highest mortality rate in Europe,
  • That horrendous number does not include the many deaths occurring in care homes and in household settings. Up to half of all deaths could be occurring in care homes,
  • Medical staff, care workers, teachers, bus drivers, people who have attempted to self isolate are continuing to die,
  • 5 under the age of 20 have died,
  • Each day something like 40 people die from this virus who have no underlying health issues,
  • The official ‘those at most risk’ list has clearly missed off many thousands of vulnerable patients,
  • Currently the UK can only perform 18000 virus tests per day. That’s not even enough to cover the urgent requirements of our front line staff,
  • Unless your the daughter of a government cabinet minister you are unlikely to be tested if you are self isolating at home,
  • We are still to introduce a virus contact service or app,
  • Even based on the country’s inadequate testing regime we officially have 84000 cases recorded.

That doesn’t strike me as under control.

This week the governments’s appointed scientists and will meet with the Cabinet to consider the lockdown arrangements. The government are keen to reopen the economy as a matter of urgency and revert back to the original herd immunity strategy. Even though growing evidence is developing that people can be become infected more than once. How long any acquired immunity lasts is still uncertain. As part of demonstrating that we are getting back to normal many in the government want schools to reopen ASAP. Certainly well before the ban on mass gatherings are eased. The argument is that kids are at a lower risk of serious complications.

Ok I fully understand the need to start living again. I hope it’s done as quickly as it is safe to do. If decisions are truly based on the best and broadest scientific advice then I think many of us will support that. But then I put my parent’s hat on.

Parents potentially are going to face a decision in the coming weeks. A decision where there is no right or wrong answer. If schools opens early, do I send our kids in. That is a personal decision and not one that I will allow the Government to take for me. Personally this revolves around a number of factors

  • Kids may be at a lower risk of serious complications but that it not NO RISK. Already 5 under the age of 20 have horrifically died,
  • UK schools are not designed for adequate social distancing or effective hygiene. Too many kids, teachers and support staff are crammed into out of date, inadequate facilities,
  • Homeschooling v Schooling – not planning to go there today,
  • The anxiety and stress the return may place on our kids. Some kids may be busting to meet up with friends again and start being a school kid again. But equally many will find the return stressful. With our Son’s Aspergers he struggles with many social and health anxieties. He has a huge issue with the fear of hygiene, illness and death. Co-vid has sent that off the chart. To the extent he struggles to leave the confines of our front gate these days. If we do venture out then it’s a quick walk, keeping at least a field distance between others and not touching any surface. That’s walking a dog in a quiet village, what on earth will it be like when we are talking about a confined building with a 1000 people. The medical support we might be able to tap into to help with this has been cut back by the government. The service is stretched and is currently not able to do face to face counselling until later in the year – currently it’s not deemed safe to do so.

So it’s a personal decision. No right or wrong decision. We all are just trying our best to navigate this mess. For me (with my parent hat on) I can’t see any foreseeable set of circumstances where I would be willing to send him back into school this side of September. But it’s a personal decision. It’s his decision. So when the times comes that the school is open then it’s his call completely. It’s his risk, his stress, his life.

Stay safe people.

116 thoughts on “Return or not

  1. It’s his risk, his stress, his life.

    What does Son say at this point?

    I know my views on the whole political fiasco that this is, not even starting on the ethical side or medical or and a hundred more or’s and also sitting on the spectrum as l do … with the same personality type in some quarters and similar in others as your lad. The difference is l am older and supposedly wiser, but more experienced in life.

    BUT, l do live in a very quiet English village with a higher demograph of locked away elders who for the better part are not wishing to venture out that much either and are like you, very sceptical of this debacle, like me and l should imagine – like your son.

    BUT, is this something he has raised with you in his very own way?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. He is wise to panic, all autism disorders aside for a moment and logical presence in … he is wise to NOT wish to go, l would be the same. Luckily your son has a great caring father … if this was happening when l was a youngster my dad would be whooping my ass if l said l don’t want to even on the grounds of medical logic.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. What annoys me is that it’s one rule for one. So Gove can get his daughter tested yet if we try we are told that we do not meet the rules. Our schools are outdated, overcrowded and unhealthy. We should be urgently looking at options to improve this. But no they won’t. Let’s not forget that this governments plan was to keep schools open regardless. If teachers got sick then the school would stay open but with bigger classes. I genuinely can’t see how my son can feel relaxed going back full stop.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Autism isn’t on the list of vulnerability? At the risk of flaming here … is any of the spectrum on the list Gary? I know everything is ASD now, but are they placing an emphasis on Aspergers being exempt over say Autism itself or is it now as an ASD straight?

        DSM 5 had a lot to answer for in 2013 now it appears it has even more to answer for … given how there are elements that would make some on the spectrum prone to even higher levels of stress.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is going to be such a tough decision for everyone and if the schools reopen (and less essential work begins again) then for some, it wont be a decision, they will have no choice but to send their child/children because of a childcare issues. My husband is a teacher and if he goes back in then my boys will also have to. With my parent hat on, I don’t want to take that risk that for them. Worrying times. x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. He’s old enough and intelligent enough to make his own decision. Well done Dad, for giving him the respect and freedom to do so.👏

    I’m still hoping for Summer School in mid-June, but am planning on September.
    Our Orange Idjit wants to reopen on May 1st. Thank goodness the Governor of California is much smarter and has done an excellent job of keeping things as safe as possible. We still need testing, we’re way behind on that. 45 deaths in a County of over a million people. It hasn’t gotten out of hand…yet.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes, the UK is severely messed up. I won’t go in to politics here though, as it’s pretty obvious to the rest of the world concerning where the blame lies.

    My husband is the one receiving text messages concerning his safety, and yet *I* am the person in this household who is classed as vulnerable! Nothing happening here makes any sense at all!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. IMO, plans to relax the lockdown restrictions at this stage is a big mistake. If new cases were in the hundreds and not thousands, if deaths were under a hundred and not almost a thousand (and we’re talking A DAY here), then maybe reconsideration would apply. But they’re not. Our country is not on total lockdown, and it should be. We are an island, but our airports, ports and the Tunnel are still open and people are coming into the country potentially bringing the virus with them. Keep yourselves safe Gary. The government won’t.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We are a mess. People can’t get tested but if you are Michael Gove then his daughter had no problem getting tested. They allowed 250000 to attend that horse race meet days before we went into lockdown. Was that based on science or was that based on the Health Secretary being funded significantly by the Horse Racing Industry.

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  6. For us personally, my son is looking forward to going back to school, however this could be because he has no set work and he thrives on structure.

    But, it does depend when they are planning to send them back. After the Easter Holidays? Not a chance is he going. Mid May maybe June, than that is a possibility. I want to wait at least 2 weeks till after the Easter Holidays to see what happens to the numbers after the idiots went out and about.

    But it is a very personal decision to everyone, I know at least two of my friends have made the decision there is no way their child is going back till at least September and even then that has its risks as there is a high chance this virus is going to come back over the winter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wish the government would get his head out if it’s ….. and start looking at changes we need to make after this wake up call. Schools are unhealthy and over crowded. We should be making changes to layouts, hours, timetables, teaching practices to create a better, safer learning environment. Not the current approach which is to increase class sizes, increase the overcrowding to save money and cope with increased teacher sickness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They won’t do though, nothing is going to change about this and for me personally, I think the biggest thing is going to be how they deal with paying back all this money, so many people have fallen through the cracks, its going to take months if not years to get back on track, the way the Tory government normally deal with it, is cutting the bottom, the thing they are probably going to do is raise taxes but keep all the loopholes open, so they are not actually affected.

        Added to this, there is going to be no further money towards the NHS or the schools. For the NHS, they are already starting to blame the staff and I think they have gone too early with their divide and conqure routine.

        Schools, they are going to say since they managed to cope with sending out work online, then it shouldn’t be a problem with the size of schools, ignore the simple fact that parents are taking on the role of the teacher without having a clue of what they are doing. My son is 8 and I don’t have a clue how they are doing maths at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It is very unwise to send kids to school before there is a cute for the infection. If they don’t fall sick, they will carry it to their families, starting a new wave of the disease.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I don’t see them opening our schools for the final 3 weeks of the year but if they do, I reserve the right to keep my kid at home and request her homework. I can’t think of anything more unnerving than hundreds of children with no impulse control clamoring together and touching every surface and each other willy nilly. That is like inviting the virus in to multiply like a mogwai fed after midnight.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Out term finishes in July. I think they are desperate to open in May or June. They should be informing schools to use the downtime to start making changes to school setup and timetables to create a healthier education environment. Not just saying kids just go back to what you had before and accept a risk of illness.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the warning in the beginning… but I read it anyway…lol
    This all sounds anything but under control. I know it is a tightrope walk between risking health or a worse economic disaster. However, health first. I cannot understand that they open the schools again as one of the first things to loosen the restrictions. Most of all, since the curve is still going up!!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ours is done completely until the fall. Although I am already seeing talk of universities possibly holding off until fall 2021. I can’t imagine waiting that long. I’d like to see some stores open again – make it a choice for owners – if there is a risk of your business going under then you have the right to choose to reopen. A lot of major stores remained open but a lot of mom and pops out there who sell the same thing were forced to close. And of course it would just make me feel better to see us move in that direction away from this. But safely of course. When the time is right hopefully we can start to find a safe way out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the likelihood and proximity of a viable vaccine and a reliable system of repeated mass testing is the best route through this mess. What we need is our governments to start talking to us like adults and tell us the truth, the data and options. That allows the small businesses to make an informed decision. But clearly schools should be changing now. We need to create more room the the kids to space out. The days of cramming people into small spaces has to be over.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here some subjects could be done it home. Maths is a definite one as we have an online national teaching app. Something like History. Watch online as the teacher delivers his lesson from historic sites. Doing this sort of thing allows schools to run two or more groups who can alternate being at home. They have to create more school space for the kids.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. My husband doesn’t want us to stop self isolating until we’ve been vaccinated. Even if the rest of the country opens up. Lucky for us school not an option and he works from home anyway. I’d be very worried if your don wanted to return to school in the near future.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Wishing you and your son the best when you are faced with that decision! I would be inclined like you to feel that as of now is not a safe time to return based on the facts that you included in your post.
    We were just notified last week that school is cancelled for the rest of the school year. That most likely means that my son will not be crossing the stage to get his diploma. Not unless they postpone the ceremony until summer time which some people are asking for. I guess we will see. This is new to everyone, schools haven’t gone through this before. Everybody is just trying to do what they think is best, like your post said. There isn’t a wrong or right answer in this case.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I have been hearing on the news today many mix things first they say some states have hit their peaks and numbers are leveling off. But then I hear no it’s not all true. I want everything g to open as much as anyone but ONLY if they know it’s safe to do so. So definitely mix feelings. I bet it’s a relieve to know no more school this yr?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hmm really? I believe when things start to reopen it’s going to be different. I think that people will not be as sociable because they will be scared of what they could couch next. My opinion only. ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  14. We;; I am staying off the soap box. You know my feelings on this entire fiasco I am sure which have worsened I must say as every night the choice seems to be what idiot will be wheeled out to face the cameras. It was always going to come down to hard economics, with this lot of clowns. Personally? I would not be putting anyone back in any school this side of the summer. and I wouldn’t get in a knot about it either. That is all I am going to say. Bet you are glad. Oh and ps…did you miss how you can’t get a test unless you are royalty or a PM? Then you can get tested twice? This testing biz is a lie.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Gove is a bastard. They all are, chinless bloody carnival clowns. The fool Boris praises the NHS but does nowt re their lack of PPE. What kind of country are we living in? Don’t answer, it’s pretty obvious. And now… now having battened people down by fear … well, now the huge further down the line cost ..and not just monetary either, though that is all they are interested in… ,worsens by the day? Well, overplayed that one didn’t they now they want people back out there? Especially when ..yeah they held things like that meet… that is nothing for me right now to the fact they haven’t shut the airports and people are wandering straight off planes into the country. If this is their exit strategy it is a ship headed for the rocks and I want to see an end to this mess. I want my life back. But to say it is all fine when it’s not is not on. NOT unless they can start answering questions BIG TIME. Relevant questions. Where are the testing kits? When will we all be tested? What is the real spread of this disease? How is it spread? Who is it affecting most? They couldn’t tell you what two and two makes. But I am reckoning most people can tell how many beans make five here.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 10 years ago the Government would have been better held to account by the media. Now it’s a joke. They are successfully painting this as all going to plan. I never thought I would ever say this. But I wish the military would take over the country for the next six months. Let the military planners sort out the mess and start getting order into all the supply chains. Our clowns will look after themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The media have not held them to account in any way. The ‘left wing’ pres is only that in that it sees its appeal is to ‘working’ man . They are frankly as right wing as it gets. Baying for this, baying for that. The right wing press are appalling in their butt licking of a bunch of clowns. And even papers like the Independent are now spouting gutter rag articles by ‘experts’ . Not one is putting them on the spot. Government were quick enough to get Youtube to gag those folks spouting 5g conspriacy theories but they have done nothing to stop the spread of fake news and dire reporting. And the press have done nothing either.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. There’s so many cultural, geographical .. ETC ETC differences, you cannot compare any kind of like with like. In Spain it is the poorest, In Italy is is the oldest BUT it is more than that, it is diet, smoking living conditions..don’t get me started on those conditions in London for many… Nice house on the surface. All mod cons in the room. But five in one room.. five in the next, 2 there, 6 there, 3 there. one bathroom, one kitchen While not the poverty i grew up in where people had a house and not a thing to put in it, , it reminded me of what my people lived in way back. Just not so slummy.
        There’a always lies, damned lies then there’s statistics. Right now?? I don’t even know if there’s that. No coherent answers about anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It’s like Spain the mortality rates are falling but still horrible. Yet the number of infections continue to rise. I would have more time if we had honesty. It’s ok to say – we don’t know yet. But we are told truths which change on a daily basis. Remember the line don’t worry you need to spend 15 minutes next to someone for you to be at risk, now apparently it can live on the soles of our shoes for days…. I’m waiting for it’s safe to send kids back to school line, strange how fir weeks they message has been ‘anyone, any age is at risk so isolate’.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I am waiting for a coherent answer to the things we don’t have answers on. What was have actually is damn all in terms of real hard facts. The newspapers have dutifully screamed every word to drip from these ‘expert’ –who I have never seen so many of in my life–scientists’ lips. Watching the space here to see how the hell our useless Whitehall gov intends convincing people that it is safe. I’m also quite intrigued that the WHO who are leading every charge going, have apparently not condemned China reopening these damned wet markets.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Your right it’s not just the UK. I was reading an article from a scientist who said the trouble was that the expert panels are picked from such a narrow band of scientific opinion. When we switched away from the Hurd approach it was because the science had changed. This scientist said that the science had not changed. They had just switched from a minority interpretation of the data to the view held by the majority of scientists.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I have also read that many of these ‘experts’ are after funding, recognition etc for their own institutions. As for the data?? Well, is anyone looking at the social, the cultural factors behind the figures? The wean of things that go into making some people healthier than others, the backgrounds, the living standards, conditions, the deprivations, pollution, the lot actually? Now there’s stuff being screamed about people dying at home. Well no shit Sherlock when you told us to self isolate if possible…. like alone if possible when you wait three hours on hold to the fancy 111 number, when you’re told unless you meet certain criteria you can’t get tested, just go away basically and hope you maybe know something about looking after yourself when you’re ill, or an ill one, when just maybe the most experience you’ve had of something like this is swallowing a lemsip that time your nose was running and you were convinced it was flu, when in fact it was just a runny nose, or you wouldn’t have been at your work etc. I don’t know we respect illness if you get me. Like we dismiss things that really do need an antibiotic etc. So yeah , I don’t think it’s any wonder that there’s people now adding to these figures who were at home. The screaming fact is that despite everything that is out there, there’s no coherent answers to any of this, this far. In some way there can’t be which is why we can do without the rabid, scare-mongering.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I don’t like the fact that kids will be used as guinea pigs to firm up the science. We should be using this as a chance to transform the teaching approach. Change the timetable to free up space to spread kids out and reduce class sizes. No the approach will be squeeze more in with less teachers and see what happens.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. You know they are such fools this lot they can’t get anything right. That chinless wonder Hancock was on about how the children would go to school but the parents and the grandparents would not be allowed in the school grounds. So are the children like the early primary ones going to be collected from their houses and returned there after??? Or are hemophiliacs going to have a field day here????? Well??? They just talk through holes in their bahouckies so they do.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. One of the main reasons for closing schools was that kids, while believed to be low risk, could carry the virus to family members at higher risk.

    I’m not usually one for conspiracies but am HIGHLY suspicious about all the “worst is over” messages aligning with govt goals to recover financially. Also, it’s a virus… it’s not magically gone. If people start gathering again, the virus will be spread again!!

    I know you & son will make the best decisions you can.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ps: I don’t know about over there but one of the issues here is that death counts don’t include people who died before being tested. So not only are infection rates unknown, due to extreme lack of testing, but also death rates.
      And now there’s evidence of re-infections… unknown if it’s false antibody results, immunity weakens, or a new strain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And the orange menace has major investments tied to the makers of the proposed miracle cure of hydrochloroquinone. I knew something was up when he was somehow able to pronounce it correctly. The idiot literally spelled out covid 3x in a recent speech because he had no idea what it was… but he pronounced hydrocholoraquin!!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Our Government is keen on the heard immunity approach. Get as many fit people to have the virus as possible. Schools are seen as the tap which allows you to control the spend that you infect people. Problem with this strategy is that it’s going to kill many people. The virus potentially damages the lungs. It’s also based on the assumption that once you get the virus you are immediately immune from it. We just don’t know enough about the virus to know how long any immunity lasts. It could be like the cold and you never build up any long term immunity.

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    1. They still like the idea just they messed up and started to overload the NHS. Schools are seen as the tap which controls the flow of infecting the fit amongst us. So once hospital pressure eases they will revert back to the strategy, unless a vaccine is available. Currently the experts are saying they are 80% confident that a vaccine being trialed will work. BUT the question is because we don’t fully understand the virus then we don’t know how long the vaccine will work for.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I listened to a leading virus expert, not part of the government circle. He basically said the Hurd option was the Hail Mary play. It’s the one you do when you run out of time and options. It has so many risks associated to it. He was annoyed as it had been used so early and without trying the other options.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. There is an uncertainty that looms over our heads. Will we be able to stop this completely, will lock down really work, will herd immunity (I do not know how will that help given limited medical facilities) help us overcome or face the threat, I know not! I see my cousin slipping into the pathos of anxiety and depression with each day, I sense the fear that everybody is cloaked in, numbers, cases, there seems to be no respite. I am just hoping and praying this gets better. The new normal is uncertain but I guess there should be a normalcy soon, as fat-fetched as that may read.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. A truly horrible place to be in as a parent and as you say your decision really. Our government here is finally doing things but now trying to get 40% of the population to download an app that can track where you have been. Just in case contacts have to be made if you test positive. In NSW the over 20s-29 year olds are the highest population testing positive?? As they are indestructible as I recall from my time in that age. There is not enough known about the potential of those getting ill again. I recall a flu season here where it was horrible for a month and than about six weeks later you were ill again not as badly but still in bed feeling awful.. I am not sure that a herd mentality is sensible with no vaccine on the horizon for at least 12 months. We still have our flu and cold season ahead. b

    Liked by 1 person

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