We have been speaking to a parent from a school based in South West England, who’s children have to isolate after a confirmed case in their school bubble. Here she talks about her experience of having to manage the logistics as they switch quickly back to remote learning.
Monday 12th October 2020
On Monday after school we had the dreaded call. The children were in a bubble that required self-isolation, someone had tested positive. The implications for that evening and the following night’s shift were immediately recognisable, but it took a while to sink in before I realised that this was an issue that will now last over three weeks given the impending half-term break.
The impact of juggling work logistics
There is much to organise given the nature of my work. I am a key worker doing two or three shifts a week. Given these are mainly nights, I sleep during the day when the boys are at school. Family pick up the boys and often have them sleepover. A few phone calls later and the practicalities were largely sorted in theory. The test of reality will stretch this somewhat.
The impact on children
Having cleared the initial panic and having made lots of modifications and arrangements the next issue was the continuous learning that is required for the children. They are both in infant school and have adjusted remarkably well to the ‘new normal’ of school life. They understand the routines, they know their bubble and they have taken it in their stride. But what about the latest disruption? How will they cope with the new schooling arrangements?
Communication from the school
The first message from the school was received via SchoolPing. It was quick and easy. Because of the message tracking, the school knew that in I hadn’t read the message and so I received a phone call to let me know and to prompt me to check for further messages. Here, I found several very useful attachments including the learning plan for the week and various worksheets for the children to complete during the week.
Home learning communciation
All the work was straightforward to and clearly laid out with examples for us to follow. Fortunately given the age of the children, I didn’t need a considerable amount of expertise to understand what they had to do. I could help them, give them space and the environment in which to work. We tend to do this at the dining table (in the lounge) and we make sure the tv is off and other distractions are removed. Although the boys weren’t necessarily keen to settle to home school, a few persuasive techniques did the trick! I learned during initial lockdown to have a few treats up my sleeve as a tool: these include baking cakes (both boys love this – the outcome as well as the process), Minecraft time and making models to name but three. Football in the garden is getting more difficult with the weather as it is.
The following day, after the initial SchoolPing message, further home learning was provided through DB Primary. This is a great facility for me as a parent, because it gives the children fun activities to do. They can explore for themselves as well as complete work assigned by the school. The boys love using the paint tool and often create pictures online that they share with their friends. All the attachments sent via SchoolPing were also provided through DB Primary through the boys’ ‘Things to Do’ section. But more importantly the school give at least two activities a day for the children to complete. These appear on the boys’ homepage every day.
Although having a routine and a set time would be the ideal thing, my shift pattern doesn’t allow for it very easily. I must vary childcare between me, and my bubble and the times can vary considerably. Fortunately, we have no symptoms, so at present I can be supported by the bubble. But this does make routine hard. I therefore, vary when the boys do their ‘formal’ home learning. The use of DB Primary and SchoolPing are beneficial for me because this doesn’t require us to logon at any specific time and we can arrange our ‘school’ time to suit us.
The school also have set up Teams to allow for video conference discussions. This is invariably used for parent meetings rather than teaching the children. I think this may be very useful in the future for discussing arrangements and how the boys are progressing. However, due to our issues around timetables during isolation, I’m relieved that it’s not being used for teaching, as trying to coordinate our timetable with that of the school would be difficult. The use of links to video lessons and the uploading of video assemblies to DB Primary helps us all to feel part of the community and we are grateful for the school’s efforts in this difficult time.