As of Next week, my children are due back to school. This is something that I am delighted about. I have one child in his GCSE year and the other in Year 10 who has found engaging in remote learning almost impossible. As a shielding parent, I was delighted to find out that children and bubbles would be offered two rapid lateral flow tests and even more impressed that the boys’ school was implementing these tests this week to ensure a smooth start next week.
Brilliant, or so I thought until I discovered that these rapid lateral flow tests were voluntary and that someone whose child was on the same bus as my boys was choosing not to have her children tested.
Upon approaching the school about how they are going to be dealing with children who haven’t been tested I was informed that it was compulsory for me to send my children in and I would be potentially inline with a fine for truancy if they didn’t attend.
I understand that every child is entitled to an education, however, I feel for the system to work it has to be based on trust and knowing that everyone is keeping their risk to a minimum and rapid lateral flow test allows for fast and decisive action to be taken as necessary.
It is nigh on impossible to social distance in school, but virtually impossible when travelling on school transport approx (38 children)and I think the risk is so much greater due to lack of social distancing and ventilation.
I am angry that a parent thinks it is OK to send their child to school untested and risk my health rather than have their child take a test. I understand that for some children testing will be far too much of a challenge, those will special educational needs and complex requirements. But it only involves a swap up the nose twice a week and isn’t harmfull in any way to the person taking the test.
One-third of cases are asymptomatic and even though the efficacy of tests is questionable testing they can provide protection for family members and the wider community. There is a wider risk to teachers and vulnerable families in peoples choice not to test their children and that it is their civic duty.
Part of me also worries that if they don’t want their senior school child tested are they complying with other rules and regulations. Why don’t they want them tested? What are their reasons for being so against testing? Will they agree to test should their child show symptoms or will they send them to school with symptoms regardless?
The government has made a big deal that everyone returning to Senior school on the 8th March will be tested for the virus, but that clearly isn’t the case. It is voluntary, but sending your children to school isn’t voluntary. So I am being made to weigh up the risk of sending my children on transport to school or taking them and collecting them and accepting the risk to me of them being so close in the car.
It really is an untenable situation. Especially when children with conditions are expected to return to school, children with shielded relatives are expected to return to school and previously shielded children are expected to return to school. Teachers who are shielding are not expected to return to school.
I am really struggling to understand how anyone who sends their children to a faith school and calls themself a Christian can object to regular testing? That they are allowed to refuse to test and send their children to school and use the school transport, but I am not allowed to object.
It feels very wrong.