Michael was unable to return to school on Monday and needed a further two days off, due to a covid outbreak in his year group bubble.
He told us that school just feels very different to pre-Covid days . He has spoken on several occasions about how little work he has been given and there has been very little homework either, Every evening, over dinner we talk about our day.
This gives Michael the opportunity to offload any positive news as well as any concerns.
Tonight he told us that there are over 20 pupils isolating. Hardly surprising as the school is a catholic school it takes pupils from all over the local area and beyond and we are very aware that we live in an area where there is a very high incidence of Covid cases across the region.
Lessons are held in classrooms that have the windows wide open the whole day – irrespective of the weather ( we have ordered Michael some thermal underwear- including long johns to wear under his school uniform) and teachers do not want to collect in their work – leave it 3 days before marking – then further 3 days before returning scripts to the students !
Michael has decided that rather than sit in the V1th form Common Room, wearing a mask over lunchtime he would go to the field – close by the school and sit outdoors, with friends over lunch time. It made me reflect on what the younger pupils are doing – who cannot leave the building, also to feel for the staff in the school who need to be on duty over the lunchtime – in communal areas – so wearing masks.
It is imperative for foster carers during Covid Lockdown (whether National or Local ) and whatever may happen next, that their key role is done with sensitivity in order to provide the children and young people with security and maintain their emotional wellbeing.
For many carers, this comes with significant challenges. An example is that our young people have not seen any family member since February – ( over 6 months ) and sadly I feel that the damage to relationships because no acceptable risk assessment has been completed may be irreparable.
Covid has been a time of nurture, for us, strengthening the attachments built up over seven years. I have reflected that for us, as long term carers with young people who are very settled our Lockdown experience has been pleasant. There has been a lot of laughter spent with young people whose history prepared them for this time. They had very limited life experience and spent most of their early childhood indoors.
The time gave us the opportunity to engage in therapeutic conversations, to teach life skills ( in particular baking and food prep ) and to get on top of outstanding jobs and projects, mostly in the garden. Sadly, I suspect that there will be plenty of time in the months to come to focus on indoor activities and jobs.
A tiny part of me knows that since March, the opportunities afforded to us as a family, to focus on relationships and learning skills will actually stand the young people in a much better position to face their future than if this had been a normal year. Hopefully the weeks and months ahead will be as smooth as the past 6 months for our family.
Jayne Robbins – A Blogging Foster Carer.