Suffolk parents’ mixed reactions over plans for primary schools to reopen
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The prospect of primary schools reopening at the start of June is splitting opinion among parents in Suffolk - with many believing it will soon be the time for students to go back and others urging children to stay at home.
In laying out the UK’s ‘roadmap’ to recover from the effects of the coronavirus lockdown, prime minister Boris Johnson suggested primary schools could begin to welcome students back from the beginning of next month.
However, he warned this move would be subject to keeping the infection rate of Covid-19 down to a lower and traceable level, and that year groups would come back in phases.
With primary schools potentially reopening in the less than three weeks, the reaction to the news has been mixed.
Many parents believe it could lead to a second spike of infections, while others argue it would provide children with respite.
‘Being at home is starting to have effects’
Jade Cox said she removed her daughter Nivea from school a week before they were ordered to close by the government on March 20.
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As Nivea spent some time last year in hospital, Miss Cox took her daughter out as a precaution due to the greater risk posed by Covid-19 to those with underlying health conditions.
But Miss Cox, from Bury St Edmunds, said Nivea’s mood had hit “rock bottom” as she has struggled without seeing her friends and teachers in nearly two months.
She said: “Nivea has been home and followed guidelines to the extreme as her health is extremely important. “I believe if the number of deaths reduce extremely by June and if there are strict procedures in place to make sure safety is put first, I wouldn’t mind her going back. “Her being at home is starting to have effects too, like on her mood and confidence.
“Even if she may not be able to sit closely to her friends, she can be amongst them.”
‘This virus may never go away’
Leanne Bullard, from Holton, near Halesworth, is mum to five-year-old George and Alice, 2.
Mrs Bullard said she is planning to send her eldest son back to school when the government gives the go-ahead, believing a prolonged lockdown will have detrimental effects on youngsters.
She pointed out how the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Suffolk remains low when compared to the rest of country, and argued schools will only reopen if they can provide a safe learning environment.
Mrs Bullard said: “I feel that the government would not be suggesting for children to return if they thought there was a large risk to our children.
“They have missed a lot of education over the past eight weeks.
“I have every confidence George’s school to keep him safe and have no doubt in my mind that he will be well looked after, along with all the other children.
“As experts have said this virus may never go away, it’s either lock yourself away until a vaccine is found, or take that small risk and possibly effect the mental health of your child in their future years.”
‘Secondary schools should come back first’
Lizzi Fordham, who lives in Ixworth, believes the government are planning on opening primary schools first as they act as a “childcare” service.
Mrs Fordham’s children India, 17, Luke, 14, and Sam, 12, have all since left primary school, but she is worried about her daughter’s future A-Level exams.
She said India is planning to study veterinary science at university and believes she might fall behind if she doesn’t see her teachers before the summer.
Mrs Fordham said: “The virus isn’t going to go away. We’ve got to be cautious but we’ve got to be safe.
“India would really benefit from some face-to-face time with her teachers.
“She is extremely frustrated that she can’t go back. She thinks that she should go back before the primary schools, and I agree.”