Children have now been back at school for a few weeks, which has coincided with a rise in coronavirus cases across the country.
While there’s no official data to suggest schools reopening with restrictions in place has been a driving force behind the increase, schools across Leicestershire have reported dozens of cases, forces classes and year groups into isolation.
To see how parents were feeling about the situation, LeicestershireLive surveyed parents – and asked how they were feeling about the number of cases and the restrictions that have been put in place.
The results of that survey are below.
How has sending your children back to school gone for you so far?
It was a mostly positive response among parents when asked how the transition had gone, with the 40% of parents saying that despite their worries, everything had worked out.
And 31% of the parents who responded said there had been no issues at all.
However, a quarter of all the parents surveyed said that the children are home again after returning this month.
While four per cent of parents said they had decided not to send their children back to school at all.
One parent said: “There is no such thing as Covid secure. Viruses spread in schools.
“I will not endanger my children and would like the option of online learning. Class size too big, aerosol spread ignored, no extra funding, no effective testing.
“Schools need to close now, to reduce spread and needless deaths and long term symptoms.”
Another parent was particularly concerned about the emotional impact the break from school during the early part of the pandemic had had on children, and that was one reason they had not sent their children back.
They said: “I believe its having a bigger emotional and mental impact on the children stopping and starting, chopping between routines therefore will not be sending my child into school anymore.
“It is a free for all with very little change.”
However, for many of the parents, their concerns did not lie with the children, but the parents when picking their children up.
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One parent said: “The selfishness of some parents refusing to follow guidance, like ignoring parking restrictions is leading to safety concerns for the rest of the public.
Another said: “Parents need to socially distance themselves from each other more with no hugging or close chatting in the playground when seeing other parents they know.”
How do you feel about the size of the bubble your child has been put in?
The results in this part of survey determined a pretty even split between those who thoughts the social bubbles were working well, and those who believed the bubbles at their child’s school was too large and the virus would affect too many children if there is a confirmed case.
Only four per cent of respondents believed the bubbles were too small and may not necessarily include all the children who have had contact with a confirmed case.
One parent said: “I don’t think mixing children in bubbles from different postcodes is good idea.”
Another believed that the system doesn’t make sense. They said: “The bubble does not make sense as they spend 18 hours outside school.
“Online study is the safest option.”
However, there was some positive feedback for schools, with one respondent saying: “I think schools have done their best in what is a very difficult situation.
“The government could have done more to help them, they got no extra funding for all the safety measures they had to put into place.”
Since schools have gone back, several have had to isolate pupils or send classes home because of coronavirus among pupils or teachers. What is your reaction to that?
Since the beginning of September, there has been concern among parents, teachers and local politicians about the number of cases schools – however, according to the survey, parents were not surprised this had happened.
More than half of those who answered the survey (54%) said they were not surprised by the positive cases, but also not too worried about them.
Just two per cent of those who responded said the confirmed cases had lead them to withdraw their children from school.
One parent said: “Schools need to be open where safe, for the sanity of the kids.
“I do think my child’s school is trying to do the best they can with the guidance they have, but think the guidance is about three weeks behind times. It shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted.
“It is an issue though where houses have children in different bubbles as potential contamination can spread across bubbles easily.
“If people are responsible and act appropriately, hopefully we will see an end sooner rather than later.”
Do you think the restrictions are affecting your child/ren’s education?
This question also split the parents who responded pretty evenly.
Slightly more parents believed the restrictions are not affecting their education, than those who did.
One parent said that by sending children back, it had negated all the positives gained by the months at home.
They said: “All work done during lockdown has been made redundant.
“I’m one of the rare few who completed all work throughout, yet none of it has been taken into account and my son has been held back based on pre-lockdown progress.
“It’s out of order and not fair on the kids.
“They share a room at home but at school are barred from speaking due to bubbles my youngest started school this year and has found that very difficult.”
Another parent said the lockdown is affecting those who are critical points of their education, such as GCSEs.
They said: “There is too much pressure on Year 11s to fit in all the stuff they need to.
“My son has ADHD and while the school is trying to accommodate him, his learning is already suffering because there is no chance to let off steam or move around and he is being expected to sit still for too long.”
LeicestershireLive is releasing a series of stories about how Leicester and Leicestershire is dealing with lockdown, the first of which was released yesterday. Read it here.