Purple

Still some flower action here in October.

I remember sitting in small meeting room as a Doctor and a Psychologist talked through Aspergers. How would it effect the future and parenting. A word that kept being mentioned was COMORBIDITY. Aspergers frequently co-exists with other additional conditions. It all depends on the individual. Sometimes you can work on one piece of the jigsaw, other times you have to look at the bigger picture.

Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia, OCD.

But the single most life affecting word

ANXIETY.

Social anxieties, health anxieties, anxieties.

It’s a constant struggle for Hawklad. The struggle is much harder during a pandemic. More anxieties all around him. But it’s not just about focusing on covid fears. As he briefly gets on top of one anxiety, another one takes over. Last night he struggled with

– infection fears,

– wider health fears,

– fears about touching surfaces and objects,

– return to school anxieties,

– anxieties about random lights in the sky,

– unexplained noises,

– eating anxieties,

– pet anxieties,

– school work,

– meeting strangers,

– life in general.

It’s a constant struggle. Reassuring, trying to manage the environment, talking. Some things the parent can help with but it’s Hawklad’s battle. Somethings need input from experts like Psychologist. Somethings just need a bit of help from life. Some fears may come and go, some fears may be overcome, some fears may become stronger, new fears may appear. It could be a life long battle for him. Over time let’s hope he can develop a range of techniques and strategies to help him manage his own anxieties. The parent is getting older. Soon what support he does get will vanish from the experts. In the UK adults are expected to ‘just get on with it’. That’s Britain for you.

Reasons

There is something about this time of year. It just keeps on producing the most amazing mist covered skies. Almost as if the sky was an old watercolour art work.

We will ignore the absolutely sodden feet. Something about this time of year and wet socks as well….

The school term is well underway and finally a few subjects are providing some home materials for Hawklad. Certainly not the entire lesson but at least it’s something. One teacher even marked some work he had submitted and provided feedback. That’s a real start. But it all seems pretty disjointed and I get a sinking feeling – he is falling behind those in class. But at least it’s improving. I wonder if there is another reason for that.

Under the new Government Rules schools don’t notify parents if there are any in-class Covid cases. Lessons continue as normal without any additional precautions. Direct contacts with confirmed cases are NOT asked to isolate. It’s out of Headteachers hands now, external officials control the process. Those officials will not intervene until the number of cases escalate beyond thresholds set by the Government. So parents are kept in the dark and apparently should assume there is no news. Schools are completely safe.

Well a teacher accidentally let the cat out of the bag today with a stray email. The email talked about those unable to attend class due to having tested positive. In Hawklad’s class of 30 pupils, 6 are currently suffering with Covid. Those pupils sitting next to a confirmed case (that’s sat for hours, shoulder to shoulder with someone with Covid) are not traced. Mid last week all in the class had been given the all clear after the quick self testing process. A testing process which is not compulsory.

So I guess the reason for the improved home workload might just be that a sizeable proportion of the school are off…..

They’re at it….

What on earth is going on the conservatory window. And yes the conservatory needs tidying up. Out of focus dinosaur toys have taken over.

So it’s the first full week back at school for families in our area. Already many children have taken the quick but problematic virus test. Our Government is really pushing them while other countries are deeply sceptical of the test we use. Even our own Doctor Groups have expressed concerns. Some parents are refusing to let their children take them. Some schools have run out of the test kits. But the tests are the only precaution left in our schools.

From the parent comments on our school’s forum, a number of children have tested positive and are waiting a full test. A number of parents are isolating due to contracting Covid. But the Government rules have changed. Schools are not allowed to track potential cases without the approval from the authorities. They are not allowed to notify parents of potential or confirmed cases. Parents will only be notified if the number of cases escalates beyond a set national threshold. It seems odd that if a child has head lice then other parents are immediately notified but no notification now with an infectious disease. It also seems bizarre that under the current rules a child who tests negative using the inaccurate quick tests must still attend class even if that child’s parents have Covid, and if the child’s siblings have Covid.

Not an ideal backdrop for Hawklad to be wrestling with going back to school or not. He is still struggling with crowds. Still struggling with OCD. Still struggling to touch objects. Still struggling to venture inside.

School have said that they will try to be flexible about his return but do they really get it . His health professionals recommended a number of changes to help but these have not been acted upon. We asked if he could be put into classes with at least a few friends to help his potential return. Most of his classes have now been announced and guess what. Where are his friends……NOT in his class. It’s as if they had tried to put him in the worst class groupings possible. Let’s hope that the last two subjects fair better. Classes are full, the year is over allocated and unless a pupil leaves then switches can’t happen apparently.

Yes they’re at it again…. And it’s not helping.

Wrestling with a decision

Still no word from school. A day of planning for a potential return lost….

Still no final decision on the return to the classroom. The case for school not helped by the Politician in charge of Education in my country. Remember him, the person with a horse whip on clear display on his desk. In his words schools are ‘safe and protected’. When asked how that was during a pandemic with up to 40000 new cases per day, he floundered and waffled. Then he said that because ‘The Government’ has installed CO2 monitors in schools. They would indicate where air quality was a problem. Windows could be opened, classes could go outside, they could consider other stuff…. He was then asked a simple question, had any schools received monitors for the start of Term and the answer was ‘NO, they will start to be issued later’. They have known about this for 18 months….. Why can’t they just invest in proper school ventilation and reduce the excessive class sizes in English schools….Why enforce masks on school buses but not in school. Finally just decide on what is happening with child vaccinations.

So what is Hawklad’s decision. Still no final word but here is a potential indication. He loves watching Wrestling. He loves going to see it when they tour. He can go to see a Wrestling Event in a few weeks. Normally he would have snapped my hand off for tickets. This time his answer was different.

“If I can’t manage school then I can’t manage going to see wrestling. No Dad don’t get tickets……”

Is it over

Is the pandemic over. Have I missed something.

Yesterday I took Hawklad for a drive through takeout at the local Taco Bells. The drive through was coned off. After much reassurance Hawklad let me go inside to buy him some food.

Well I was wearing a mask and keeping my distance……..

The only other person with a mask was the lad preparing the food. The girl taking the orders, the chap making drinks and the person on the till were maskless. Everyone inside at the tables were maskless. Even the customers who came in after me were maskless. I even had to ask the person behind me to move back as he was no more than a foot away from me. AND the looks I got. No comments this time as I think my eyes gave away the current mood level. What’s the phrase – if looks could kill……

So have I missed something. Is it over…..

Just had an email from school saying that masks are still recommended on school buses but they are not required in any part of the school including classrooms. All social distancing rules have ceased. This follows Government instructions to schools. The email also notified parents that from the opening of schools next week, classes will now not be sent home if there is a positive case in the class. A significant outbreak would have to occur for that to happen. That decision would now not be the schools to take, it was up to area officials. Further if positive cases occur in a household then the any pupils are expected to still attend school until they test positive. Parents will now not be automatically informed of any school or class outbreaks. They will not be informed of any close contact with confirmed cases. This will only occur when a threshold of infection is reached. The school is seeking clarification on these new rules but they will have to follow them as they are Government instructions.

So have I missed something. Is it over…..

ONE MORE THOUGHT….

The Government was asked in a Freedom of Information Request to reveal what its own expert advice said about its school mask removal policy. The Government has refused to release that advice or a summary of the expert opinion as it is ‘not in the public interest to release that information’. I wonder what it says…….

Twilight walk

Late evening dog walk. Normally a time of beauty, quiet and peace. A much needed feeling of solitude for Hawklad. But not this night. The sound of the farmer had at work as the light gives out. No sound of silence tonight.

Another day has started and the Government ‘schools are perfectly safe’ campaign is in full swing. Children are are very low risk of getting ill from COVID. Crossing the road is much more dangerous. So all children should return to school immediately and there is no need for any COVID mitigation strategies in the the classroom. Forget your masks and go for it. This even applies to Extremely Clinical Vulnerable children. A Government Health Agency has just wrote to over 55000 families to inform them that now their extremely clinical vulnerable child should not shield anymore. They are expected back at school. Previously they have been informed to fully isolate due to the health risks associated with COVID. Now it’s suddenly become safe. Reassuringly the Head of that Agency also claimed last year that the UK had a world leading COVID strategy. Also argued that effective track and trace of cases was not needed. Also claimed that Large Scale Mass Public Gatherings carried no risk at all (days before they were stopped on safety grounds). Argued that the UK would not suffer significant deaths (currently 132000). OK….

Covid is such a difficult area to manage. I accept that. But children are catching Covid. Are suffering from severe and long Covid. They are in intensive care. Too many have died. It’s time my Government was honest with us. We are averaging well over 30000 new cases per day. We have 26x more cases than this time last year. Most days sadly over 100 people die. Most other countries are vaccinating children. Most other countries are installing improved ventilation in classrooms. Most other countries are maintaining sensible precautions in schools. My Government has decided to drop all precautions. Let’s be clear the Government and it’s officials know this. They have an level of child illness, suffering and death which is acceptable to them. They will see that as manageable.

But then rather than trusting children and parents with making a decision on their families safety (which will be different for each family), they are forcing the issue. Forcing families into sending children back into school regardless of the individual circumstances. Threatening legal action. Sending Government Officials after families. Regardless of family health risk profiles. Regardless of any mental health concerns. The only view that matters is the Government’s.

Parent views only matter with this Government when they provide a convenient excuse for the friends of the PM to justify the few ignoring the rules while everyone else has to obey them. One rule for them, one rule for us.

And on top of that the Government is now saying that responsibility for controlling covid in schools is purely the responsibility of parents and teachers. It has nothing to do with the Government. I wonder why that is…

Hawklad will go back to school when he is ready. He knows best. I trust his judgement. It is his health and well-being. Sadly I don’t trust those in power who are supposed to be on his side. They don’t care.

September

On its own.

So the Government has started recruiting for Attendance Advisers who will be paid £500 per day to chase up children who are not at school due to Covid. The line is that schools are perfectly safe. Crossing the road is more dangerous than Covid….. Covid is now a ‘virus we just have to live with’. Parents will be taken to court if they refuse to send their children back to the classroom.

Hawklad will go back to school when HE is ready. It will be HIS decision. It will NOT be down to some pompous idiot with a horsewhip on his desk whose only motivation is his own self interest. If Hawklad decides not to go back in September then I have a medical exemption note and I will happily see the Government in Court.

Autumn

Autumn is coming…..

Basically we have had about 36 hours of rain and drizzle. I looked up the weather stats and for hours of sunshine it has ZERO for two days now. I can’t remember the last time I went looking for the sun cream. Probably back into early July.

Perfect weather for rhubard….

Another hit on the return to school journey for Hawklad.

He is still struggling to be close to others, even outside. His trusted Psychologist has now left and we are waiting news on a replacement. The one restaurant he was considering trying to go inside for a meal, burnt down….

So it’s not been straightforward but he is still trying.

He was hoping to see a close friend early this week. Spend time at the friends house. Another important step. But we got a telephone call. His friend has Covid.

A September classroom return is seemingly becoming more problematic for Hawklad. A

utumn might see more homeschooling.

Chuck

Definitely a moody day. Moody means ‘it’s about to CHUCK it down again…’

It’s now 6 weeks to the schools return. In 6 weeks the classrooms will be full and the Government has removed all social distancing. So in September no masks, no screens, no class bubbles, no additional sanitary facilities, no additional distancing. Schools are perfectly safe. Currently with some protection there are just under 1000 COVID child hospital admissions with an average of 52 new admissions per day. 64 have tragically died from COVID.

It’s within this backdrop that Hawklad is struggling with a potential return to the classroom. He is already talking about the social pressure to stop using his mask if the rest of his classmates and teachers aren’t. It’s just a mess. Some families are desperate to ‘return to normal’, some families are unsure and some are still trying to shield.

It’s just such a mess.

Masks

A simple trip out to the local Post Office. Ok it’s a 6 mile round trip but it’s the only option unless you want to venture much further into town or city. I went with my work parcel, money and mask.

On Monday the Government lifted Covid Restrictions across England. Clearly infections aren’t rapidly rising and we don’t have the highest infection rate currently in the world.

I counted 7 other people in the shop/post office. I was the only one wearing a mask. The bloke next to me helpfully reminded me that masks weren’t required anymore because the Prime Minister had said so. I kindly reminded him that was not the message our A&E doctors and nurses are desperately trying to get across. That’s the thing. While our NHS teams are having leave cancelled to cover reopening COVID wards the Government and its MPs are just about to start their summer holidays. I also asked the chap to back away as he was now within 1 metre of my face. For some reason he seemed to take great offence at that.

Just like with most things the one thing our Government is great at is creating divisions in society. One group against the next. Well they have just done it again…..