Re-opening schools

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Speaking from public prospective, after listening to so many parents talking about their challenges with home-schooling while coping with their work and daily routines. I can sum up the current situation to the following:

1. Parents getting stressed with home-schooling while trying to keep on top of their work - this is a serious matter if their career is at stake. Businesses are struggling to stay afloat with the current pandemic, employees are under more tension to keep their jobs and sickness leave have become a common reason of absence.

2. Children are at melt-down stages, some have already passed the depression state. I have never witnessed children under 10 years old break down crying before this pandemic (and I have lived through three wars) due to the pressure of home-schooling, not being able to see their friends and interact with people. The young generation is growing up with a serious mental health condition, it will certainly impact their future and their lives going forward. It has already changed their perception of the world.

3. Mental and physical health, for those working parents, keeping kids focus on doing homework while getting along with their working life puts a lot of pressure on their time and energy. In order to stay healthy, the government have issued the rights to exercise in fresh air, not everyone can, especially if you have kids (one or more) at home.

Home schooling is only effective if children are focusing on learning, as a parent I consider home as a sanctuary, it's linked to relaxation, games and time of fun. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been trying to change the meaning of home and turn it around in order to make it easier to home school our kids, which in current climate doesn't work when the child have nowhere else to go to beside home or people/friends to interact with apart from their parents and siblings.

I suggest we look at the reality of this current state and make some fundamental changes to our thinking. What if we consider:

1. Treating teachers as key workers - by issuing priority vaccination

2. Issuing test kits for those working at school and impose regular tests (twice a week) to ensure health and safety of teachers

3. Opening all schools, bringing back all students and ensuring extra support is given to those who are struggling to cope mentally.

There is no clear scientific evidence to show that schools are the primary source of infections, classrooms can still operate in bubbles to retain and confine any infections that may occur plus give individual parents (especially those vulnerable) the option to either keep their kids at home or to send them to school. World Health Organisation have reported that "In most infections or COVID-19 cases reported in children, infection was acquired at home", taken from WHO

The longer we leave this, the worse it gets. Unfortunately this second lockdown has not given any of the parents or kids time to settle back to their normal life routine after first lockdown has finished. So, I urge for the government to consider this situation seriously and treat it with at most urgency, I am a parent of two young kids and I am seeing this impact first hand. Speaking from scientific prospective and from personal trauma from living in a war zone and in fear, mental health is not something to be taken on lightly.