It seems like just yesterday that I wrote the article about “It’s only two weeks” isolation if you actually have the COVID-19. Being in Western Australia, I think we’ve had the privilege of being isolated, until now. Now the stories that we have heard about and seemed so distant are starting to wash up on our shores. Our mindset was quite positive. If you get it, it’s as simple as self-isolating for two weeks……It’s more prevalent in other countries….. We are not over 70 years of age….. Now we see that it’s maybe not that simple and maybe two weeks could linger (as we have seen in Italy).
I was quite reluctant to write the previous article because I didn’t want my blog to be all about the COVID-19 and that’s all we were hearing about. Now it’s worse. We are hearing about it AND it has spread. So, here I am again. I hope this is the last time I comment on it? It is a current situation that is really affecting our jobs and lives, so I guess it seems worthy of comment.
Our schools are still open here. The Prime Minister made the statement, last Sunday, that parents could choose whether or not to send their children to school. No penalties would apply. I am currently on long service leave (yep, the worst time to have it!) but am still in contact with my teaching colleagues. They are informing me of attendance numbers and we have approximately half the regular attendance right now. It must be so challenging for parents who really want to keep their child home but are unable due to work reasons.
In schools, we pace some challenges to the recommended hygiene and social distancing recommendations. If you are a teacher, you appreciate how difficult it is to ensure that students are always hygienic and stay some distance away from others. We remind students to wash their hands nearly every time they go to the bathroom. They still forget! They still pick their noses! Of course, certain measures of precaution have been made. There are no gatherings of large groups, meaning assemblies have been cancelled. Professional Learning courses have been cancelled. Students now sit in varied spots around the school so that they are not all together. Time will tell us if these measures are adequate.
I am keeping my son (in Year 8) at home and currently home-schooling him. This is indeed a challenging task but more on that in another article. My daughter’s uni has gone online but they already had these facilities in place. As I am on leave, I am completely able to home school them. I do return to work in the final week of school this term though, so that may present a challenge at that time.
Because we are not in complete isolation, schools are still running, restaurants have take-away options available and so on, we are not setting up for a complete home-school option for parents. This grey area is rather wishy-washy and therefore we have a foot in each door. I have put some resources onto a shared website for parents. They have access to reading apps and online computer-based learning programs. This is all I can do right now.
We took out son down to the beach this morning (because being out in public spaces is ok as long as you follow the social-space recommendations). As we arrived we could see a whole class of students (about 30) with two teachers. They were all engaging in some sporting activities and group hugging. Unbelievable! Did this school not get the memo? Have they been in a remote community without tv, radio or any news?? As we were walking on the beach, people magically moved away from each other to give space. Beautiful. Then there were the odd small groups of people who decided to completely ignore the recommendations and were all walking together, touching and obviously socialising. So, here in Perth (W.A.), there are mixed interpretations of social distancing!
I just hope that we are all doing enough, as a combined group, to stop the spread of COVID-19 here in W.A. and not have to go through the awful situations that other countries have had to face. As soon as I heard about this situation, I thought that they (the Government) should just stop flights, stop interstate travel and have a “shut-down” for two-three weeks. That would have prevented a lot of this. We had about 17 people with the virus, early on, because they had contracted the virus from overseas (or been in contact with people who had this contact). So, I feel like the approach of waiting to see if it would spread and then getting serious didn’t really work!
Wishing you health and happiness! See below some online learning options.
Apps & sites for home learning:
* There are just a plethora of generous offerings right now. My advice would be just to pick a few that you really like and get your child to focus on these. You can’t do everything and you don’t want to make it too complicated for your child.