But this September there will be an extra layer of anxiety as children join Reception in primary school or Year 7 in secondary.
Clareine Enderby, from London, is worried about her son starting at secondary school. “I am extremely concerned about safety,” she told i. “He will need to get the bus to get there, and I have no idea how buses will get the pupils all on given the need for social distancing.”
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While the Government U-turned to allow heads to require masks to be worn in communal areas, she is not convinced they have gone far enough.
“It makes no sense that for a 15-minute shopping trip we must mask up, but to have 30 people in a classroom for hours at a time, breathing each other’s air and with teachers moving between classes to give lessons, this is deemed safe.”
Risk to the community
Assurances from the Government that the risk to young people is low have not had their desired effect.
“What about the risk of it spreading to their families and communities? Or between staff and their families and communities?” Ms Enderby asked. “And death is not the only negative outcome from Covid. Severe debilitation is also a real possibility for many people.”
Some parents are concerned, but not primarily by the health risk. Lauren Peacock’s four-year-old son, Harry, is starting Reception at a school near Skipton in Yorkshire. “I’m feeling apprehensive it’s fair to say,” she said. “Not so much from the fear of Covid… it’s more the restrictions that are in place and the fact that he is coming to school having been out of pre-school for longer than he was there.”
She is worried about the potential emotional difficulties that could be a “natural offshoot” of the Covid measures.
Living in a rural location – where “social distancing is a way of life” – with a small village school, “the risk feels comparatively low”. But Harry has not had the “usual raft of settling in visits, he’s not ever been in his classroom”.
She added: “The bigger fear I think I have is he might go in, we might get over the initial bumps, he might settle and then we might get 24 hours’ notice that he can’t go in. We could be going over and over the trickiest part of the process. I just think it’s a lot for small children.”
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