Once again in the spirit of sharing information during this pandemic, I thought it would be a great idea to share something controversial with you; our little girl has gone back to school. I see that raised eyebrow but don’t worry, we did our research and spent quite a bit of time debating it before making the decision. If you’ve read my Covid-19 Journals, you know that my whole family has contracted and recovered from the ‘rona and as a result, our approach in this pandemic has changed significantly. Does it mean that we are walking around ‘mask-less’ ? Nope. Does it mean that we have started visiting friends and family? Definitely not. Does it mean that we have joined the petition to restore life to its pre-pandemic ways? Not at all. Everything else stays the same for us, the only change is that my daughter gets to spend a few hours at her pre-school learning, playing and socialising.
I’ll tell you why we continue to live in a bubble just now, but first, let’s look at the three things we considered before sending our toddler back to school.
Does my child (or anyone that lives with us) have any underlying medical conditions?
This one was key in making any decisions that would put our family at risk. We were lucky enough to have gotten ill and recovered, so answering this question was very simple. We could even take this further and say with certainty that we are not at a high risk of being hospitalised in the event that one of us does get reinfected. I know a few of you will point out that the virus is still new and no one really knows what the effects are long term, or how things work with reinfection… Now would be a great time to mention that my father-in-law is a doctor and thanks to the pandemic, has been spending quite a significant amount of this year treating patients with the coronavirus. He has been in medicine for over three decades and has made quite the name for himself, so when he gave the green light to send our tot back to school, we didn’t hesitate.
What is the reason for sending our child back during the pandemic?
Both my husband and I work very demanding jobs. I do my best not to speak about my professional life in detail for obvious reasons, but I will say that I have very set working hours during which I cannot afford to be distracted. Having a toddler running around while I speak to clients or focus on a task isn’t ideal and has lead to quite a few costly errors on my part. My husband has done his best to balance his work and caregiver responsibilities, but with several back to back calls, this often meant that she was screaming in the background or begging for attention. As a remedy, we found ourselves leaving our two year old with three electronic devices at a time to keep her busy. Anyone with kids would know that is not ideal, so we decided to send her to a place where the focus and attention would be on providing her with the necessary stimulation for her cognitive development.
What measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19
Even though we aren’t too afraid of the virus anymore, we still don’t want to get sick again because it was not a pleasant experience. The pre-school that little my daughter goes to has several measures put in place to ensure that the kids and teachers are kept as safe as possible. With children, it is a bit of a challenge to ensure that they follow the rules, so every parent needs to make that conscious decision knowing that all the other measures may not be enough. We were ok with that, knowing that children tend to respond better to the virus. It was also important to know how the school sanitised, social distanced and maintained safe environment.
What other considerations went into this decision?
Well, everything we considered was based on our exposure as a family, but we knew going into this that we needed to be very responsible in our approach. Just because we were part of the lucky population that responded fairly well to the virus did not mean that we could act recklessly. What many people forget is that there are teachers and other families who are not so lucky and would need protection against any possible infection. We continue to spend 99% of our time in our home, only leaving for emergencies or for a drive around the city with no exposure to other humans. We order our groceries online and practice a social distanced handoff ie wearing masks, sanitising and (quite obviously) keep a physical distance from the person who delivers the goods. It is important to note that none of this is for us, it is more for the teachers that have been forced to work so that they can put food on their tables. It is for the families of other children who may be at a higher risk of developing complications post infection. It is for the delivery men who still have to interact with several random people a day, delivering parcels so that they can pay their bills. Please think about the others too, everyone is making sacrifices.
I know there are many parents out there struggling with these tough decisions and many more who are being criticised for doing what is best for their families. What I ask is that you are kind to each and every one of them because you never know what considerations went into their decisions. You also do not know what challenges they are facing on a day to day basis. We are all in this together, but we are not all fighting the same fight.
Till next time, stay safe!