Isolation… it’s not all fun and games

As I sit and write this it’s day 5 of my isolation… and I’m gonna be honest, I’m really not having a barrel of laughs. I’m not struggling, but I am NOT flourishing.

Let’s take you back a bit…

On Tuesday, I sent one of my children home to have a COVID test because she had a bit of a cough. I wasn’t sure if I’d done the right thing. I asked my TA and she said I had to go with my gut, so I sent home one of my girls… and thought no more of it. I just got on with the rest of my day. Tuesday went how it went and I just hoped that she was OK. As I said to my TA, “if it’s just a cough, it’s just a cough… but if it’s not, I’d rather know”.

Fast forward to Wednesday morning, my head comes in and tells me that she’s come back positive and we’ll have to close the bubble. He’s always been one to crack jokes, so I honestly thought he was kidding, but no, he wasn’t. He then had the horrible job of breaking the news to my Year 6 class that they were going to have to go home and isolate for the rest of their time in primary school. Our isolation ends on Friday, their last day with us is Thursday. Their hearts were broken. So many of them cried. I was TRYING to run pupil progress meetings, but I had to leave because I just couldn’t concentrate. My brain was on “OMG I NEED TO CHECK MY KIDS ARE OK. OMG I NEED TO GO HOME. OMG”. We were, up until that point, only one of 2 classes who hadn’t had to isolate the entire year.

We’d done the washing hands routine twice a day, sanitising our hands after break and before lunch, washing down our tables, sitting in rows, having all separate equipment and all those things that were recommended. We’d been so careful. We’d talked about changes over and over again. We’d talked about the WHYS and the HOWS. We’d listened to the rules. We’d tried our hardest to understand the seemingly unfairness of it all – “miss, how come all of these people can go watch football but we can’t have a residential?” My kids and I had adapted, been resilient and shown patience in the face of these new routines and done it so well, so quickly and without much grumbling. It wasn’t normal, but it was what we were doing.

This isolation isn’t like lockdown. This isolation feels a lot more isolated (which sounds absolutely ridiculous…. I know). Other people are still going about their lives. This actually feels like an isolation. I can’t go about my daily life. I can’t go for a run. I can’t leave. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t about to be breaking ANY rules. If you know anything about me, I am a duty bound person; I live for a rule and a routine. But my god, does it suck. I can see how isolating can be detrimental to so many people.

I’m incredibly lucky to live with my parents and have someone to talk to, interact with and be with every day. I have amazing colleagues who check up on me every day; who are changing things left right and centre so I can be involved in school life and I am so so grateful.

This week, our head, who was my head as a pupil, is retiring, and I am so so sad that I’m missing all of his celebrations. There are so many lovely things planned this week to celebrate him, and I can’t be there. Selfishly, that’s one of the things I’m the most sad about.

I’ve rearranged and rejigged my leavers plans for my kids so they still get some kind of leaver’s celebrations, but it’s not going to be the same. I’m so sad for them that their last 2 years in primary school have been shook by this stupid pandemic. They’ve not had a proper residential; they’ve not had the proper social experience; they’ve missed out on transitions; they’ve missed out on so much in school joy because of this stupid pandemic.

I know there’s nothing I can do about it. I know there’s no one to really blame (I’m not getting into the politics of this), but it sucks.

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