They got me

Today I received my first dose of Covid Vaccine. The AstraZenenca version. The process was managed brilliantly by our wonderful NHS. Very thankful. It’s a start. But it’s not the complete solution.Will definitely continue to isolate. To social distance and be masked up. To try protect others and the NHS.

We have such a long way to go before can say this fight is over. We can just hope that something can begin to open up the world again for Hawklad.

Schools out for now

Today we received an email from the Headteacher setting out the plans for the coming school year. Clearly he is being hamstrung by both government rules and the lack of any clarity on those rules. But currently this is the plan.

  • Each year group will be largely kept apart from other year groups.
  • Each year group will return to school on a different day. For our sons new year group that will be September 11th.
  • School buses will run but each child will have a named seat and the bus will be split into year groups. That will mean son will have to sit with 3 girls and separate from the boys he would normally sit with. All pupils will need to wear a mask on the bus and use hand sanitizers when they board the bus.
  • Masks will not be worn at any other time during the day.
  • Corridors will operate as normal but pupils will be encouraged to maintain as much social distancing as possible.
  • Social distancing will not be enforced within the classroom, so room layouts will remain unchanged.
  • No catering facilities will be available at break times.
  • Access to the canteen will be restricted at lunchtime. Pupils will only be allowed to have lunch within narrow timeframes.
  • More hand sanitizers will be available but it will be up to the pupils when they use them.
  • Toilets will be restricted to only 3 people at a time.
  • Year groups will be kept where possible in there own area of the school. Sons area would mean that he does not have access to the quiet room which is set aside for children with autism.
  • Parents will be given details of mental health services available to those children struggling.
  • No onsite temperature checking will take place, that is the responsibility of the parent.
  • If any child is showing a Covid symptom then they should be kept off school. They are also encouraged to undertake a virus test.
  • Class sizes may have to be increased to take account of increased teacher sickness.
  • Pupils will be encouraged to avoid meeting with friends who are not in their year group.
  • School will not be closed if virus cases are recorded.
  • Online tuition will have to be abandoned with the government dictating a full return to normal schooling.

So that’s the plan. I’m so hoping son decides to opt for homeschooling. Frankly opening up large schools during a pandemic with only the minimum of additional safeguards, appears reckless. So many unanswered questions, which the headteacher openly refers to. Why would you shutdown online tuition in schools which are actually up for awards on the quality of that online service. What do families do when they have several children in different year groups. Most people with the virus show no symptoms yet testing is being restricted. Why masks for buses yet no masks for classrooms. How do kids with autism access the autism services which are in a restricted parts of the school. It’s ok giving out mental health service details but those services are already overrun with significant service backlogs (waiting lists of up to 12 months) – kids need help now….. And on and on.

It’s all a bit of a mess really.

Regardless of the weather.

It’s definitely been Social Distancing Sods Law.

It’s been a yucky winter. Storm after storm. Zero snow. Rain, rain, rain. The ground became a constant mud fest. Cold and so very grey. And don’t start me off with the constant high winds. Just not conducive to venturing out. It’s was that bad that we have not been to the coast in well over 6 months. Running became an absolute weather ordeal. Then social distancing becomes a new national obsession. We go into lockdown and guess what. The rain stops (almost completely and the ground has completely dried out). The wind dies down. The Sun decides to make a return. Perfect beach walking weather. Beautiful running conditions. Sods Law.

Unbelievably a local weather station has recoded ZERO rain in 3 weeks. This is Yorkshire, what on earth is happening. One day we even had to get the sun cream out…..

Yes no trips out and no longer runs. No social interaction. Almost complete isolation. But we are so lucky. We have a garden to help practice social distancing. Our own little world to enjoy this settled spell.

But let’s not forget that social distancing is not new here. It’s not new in many autism households. Its not new in many disabled households. It’s not new in households who have been cut adrift from society. Its not new for many single parents. It’s not new for far too many you are living alone. It’s something which happens with or without a virus. Week in week out. Year after year. Regardless of the weather. Nothing to do with Sods Law. It’s just normal life for many in our society. What is unusual is that for a brief spell, everyone gets to try it.