Today as we have come to the anniversary of the beginning of the first lockdown, it is important to reflect on what has gone before in relation to the hardship and lives lost as well as the heroes that have emerged. We are conscious that the children have only just returned, and we do not want to create further concern or anxiety about the pandemic. Therefore, today, we will be spending time with the children focusing on the positives that have occurred and what children have achieved during a time of such challenge.
As I have said many times before, our community has worked brilliantly to keep us all safe by following the strict guidelines that have been imposed. Although it is clear that the majority of people continue to follow these expectations, I would like to take this opportunity to make a plea to those who are beginning to change their behaviours and are not keeping to these safety measures.
Current Lockdown Restrictions
We must all remember that the country remains in lockdown. On March 8th, this changed slightly with the ability for schools to fully open once again to all children. The restrictions on us all are still in place and are focused on people not mixing. Amongst others, these restrictions include:
- You should stay at home except for a limited number of reasons – these include shopping for necessities, going to work (if you cannot do so from home), volunteering, seeking medical assistance, or avoiding domestic abuse.
- You may exercise outdoors on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. You should stay in your local area.
- You may socialise outdoors with one other person not in your household.
- You should stay two metres apart from anyone not in your household, or one metre with precautions (such as a face covering).
Even when there are further changes to restrictions on March 29th, there will still be various social distancing restrictions which are intended to contain the spread of the virus, that is surging in other European countries.
Within school we continue to implement a range of stringent measures which are intended to keep a nearly 500 people as safe as possible within one building, daily.
Issues Arising for School
Unfortunately, we are seeing more situations arising where some families are not complying with the restrictions. We are aware of children going to the backdoors of barbers/hairdressers, children having sleepovers and families organising parties. We must understand that all these situations are illegal to the extent that they have the potential of leading to fines.
I understand that the lockdowns have gone on for a long time and people are tired of the situation. It is extremely difficult for social beings to live happily when their access to others is reduced. However, as a community, we have all worked for a year to keep everybody as safe as possible by understanding the sacrifices we all must make for the greater good.
My staff have worked in school throughout, including over holiday periods, to support children to provide the education and care required during this time, in line with national requirements. When people were required to work from home, we have continued to work face-to-face with children because it is the right thing to do even though that has meant staff have been exposed and have been at a higher risk than others. We have done so knowing that families are doing all they can to keep themselves and our school safe.
The problem we are now seeing is with children speaking to staff and explaining to them how they and their families are not following the restrictions. We are not simply hearing about bending rules but behaving blatantly illegally. The potential of bringing Covid-19 into school will increase because of these risky behaviours. This means that children and staff, along with their families, are at increased risk because of those who are making the decision to not follow the national lockdown rules.
Another consequence of this situation is that we have children who a learning that rules do not matter, authority does not matter and that you can lie about your behaviour when you break the law. Children learning this at such a young age has the potential for many problems moving forward, both in school and at home.
After all this time working to protect our community, my fear is that this could ultimately lead to someone catching the virus unnecessarily and that they, or an innocent family member, becomes hospitalised or worse.
Working for the Benefit of All
I am imploring that those families who are ignoring the lockdown restrictions follow the law and refrain from mixing with other households for the safety of all our children, their families, my staff and the wider community. Please be patient for a little while longer so that we can come out of this together, safely.
Mr M. Malik