What parents think about children returning to school in September

For many parents, the reopening of schools will be a welcome break after months of juggling their responsibilities with home-schooling.

However, there are concerns that children returning to education in September could put those who are vulnerable in our society at risk.

The latest episode of Alone Together offers different parenting perspectives about the return to school after the summer holidays.

Samantha Smith, whose charity the EDS Foundation raises awareness and education about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, has been shielding with her children during the lockdown.

She tells the podcast that “the vulnerable are being forced back into society”, explaining that her children are fearful of going back to school and “effectively bring home a virus that kills their mummy”.

The mum-of-two said: “There’s a feeling among the vulnerable that we’re forgotten – the forgotten shielders.

“There’s also a strong feeling that the economy is being prioritised over our safety or our health.”

Shelina Begum, co-founder of WorkingMamas.com , a support and advice network for working mothers, also appears on the Alone Together podcast, discussing the importance of “some kind of normality” for children.

She said: “We have to let them get on with it, because they do need some kind of normality.

“Children thrive off playing with their friends and being out and about. They’ve had four months of not being able to do that.

“It’s time that we let them just be kids as much as they can in the new normal.”

Shelina is joined in conversation with Lynda Moyo, founder of the Lemon-Aid newsletter , a community of parents started in lockdown.

She discusses a recent survey by the newsletter that found one in five parents (21 per cent) said they would be happy to send their children back to school wherever it opened, while nearly half (47 per cent) were happy to wait until September

It also revealed that seven per cent of parents would prefer to wait until January 2021, and 16 per cent would not be happy to go back until a vaccine was made available.

Whilst feeling “a little bit more relaxed” about children heading back to school in September, she warned: “I would say social distancing is impossible with very young children, to be honest.

“What would be the point in suggesting that four or five-year-olds can stay two metres apart?

“They’ll be sneezing on each other, they’ll be giving each other hugs – it’s just the way that they are.”

You can listen to all of the interviews in the latest episode here .

Alone Together is a Laudable production from the newsrooms of the Manchester Evening News, the Edinburgh Evening News, and Birmingham Live.

It is available on all major podcasting platforms, including Spotify and Apple . For exclusive, immersive content, you can download the Entale app on iOS or Android .

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