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George & Ruby – The School Children

Ruby and George

The School Children

George and Ruby - The School Children © Anja Poehlmann

Ruby and her brother George are both at primary school. The Covid-19 pandemic saw children in England collectively miss 575 million days of school by the time they re-opened in September 2020. For the siblings and their parents, Alex and Matt, the stay at home order meant getting to grips with a different daily routine and online school.

The children also had to deal with the emotional devastation of loss during lockdown, following the death of their grandmother from cancer.

For mum Alex, it was the hardest thing, dealing with everything on top of grief. “It was hard for the children to understand how suddenly someone is there, and then not. Cancer’s a hideous thing. We couldn’t have a wake, 30 people were allowed at her funeral – which we were grateful for, because during the first lockdown you couldn’t have any. But she was one of seven, it didn’t feel enough.”

Walking the family dog Olive, has been a tonic for the family who regularly headed out across the Downs. “At the height of lockdown, we came up every day. We’ve walked so much! Lots of walks have definitely been the highlight for us. We found so many new walks during lockdown.”

George had a birthday during lockdown, he got a digital camera and used it to take a ‘lockdown diary.’ “It was a bit upsetting that I didn’t get to see my friends on my birthday. We went to the beach at 4am to see the sun rise and saw grandma on the iPad to help blow out the candles – cyber grandma!”

Ordinarily, the children would have a busy schedule of after school activities during the week. Dance lessons and sports clubs featured heavily in their pre pandemic free time. The cancellation of extracurricular activities impacted Ruby; “I miss my dance school. I miss my grandma. I miss swimming because the pool closed.” Mum contemplates the number of activities; “I don’t know how we managed it all before.”

The impact on children – particularly those without the technology, space and support at home to learn remotely – was enormous; “we own our own business, we work from home, so luckily we were set up.”

But as time went on, Matt felt it got harder for everyone; “the kids took over our office – our computers while we’re still trying to earn a living. It’s been tough. I was an awful teacher – I had motivation for a little while, but I had my own work to deal with to earn money, because if I don’t, I can ‘t pay the mortgage!” For Alex the concern was the level of screen time. “There was a massive worry how much they were looking at those screens all day every day. It felt very robotic.”

Ruby missed not going to school; “I was sad, it meant I couldn’t see my friends and I couldn’t see my teacher and have a good time at school. I got to see some of my friends in a Zoom call though.”

Although the children missed school and their friends, they have grown closer to each other over lockdown.

 

Related links

Source – School Attendance Report

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