Back to school? Stop having kids. During a pandemic, it’s the decent thing to do

The Skinny | No. 51 • Back to School!

School pupils in Thailand are playing and studying in makeshift plastic cubicles to comply with strict social distancing measures
School pupils in Thailand are playing and studying in makeshift plastic cubicles to comply with strict social distancing measures

What are we skinning? Malta’s children returning to school in droves during coronatimes.

Why are we skinning it? Because of the barrage of drama that is likely to follow from all angles.

But why are kids returning to school during a pandemic? Because education is important. Can’t you tell from all the covid-deniers out there?

Fair enough, but what measures are being put into place? Broadly speaking, the same ones that are being applied everywhere: masks and social distancing.

That sounds like an implementation nightmare, with kids involved. Does the ‘not-so-broadly speaking’ take make it sound any less terrible? All children above the age of 11 are to wear masks, and social distancing is to be observed at all times, in classrooms and beyond.

We’re doomed. Pretty much, yes.

But okay… kids had to get back to school, and we can’t assume perfection from all involved at all times during such an intense – and fluid – pandemic. That’s very rational, though perhaps over-generous. I’m sure teachers and other scholastic staff will find scant consolation in it, however.

Yes. Dealing with human beings in a pandemic is proving challenging across the board. Even the adults are behaving like children about the whole thing at the best of times. Imagine what ACTUAL children are going to be like?

And what’s that I hear about ‘bubbles’ being enforced? Yes, kids will be encouraged to spend time with a common group of friends/enemies/frenemies as much as possible, both in school and on public transport.

That’s one sure fire way of further entrenching notoriously toxic social cliques… Yes, it’s a Mean Girls scenario driven up to the n-th degree. Or rather, the COVID-19 degree.

‘You can’t sit with us!’ is suddenly medicalised. Who would have thought Regina George would have ended up being a responsibility-icon for the pandemic age?

True. One must adapt for the better whenever possible during these unprecedented times. We should lobby for her to become Prof. Charmaine Gauci’s trusted side-kick.

But CAN she be trusted? Fair point, though really and truly… no more (or less) than any other member of parliament.

Another thing: I’m assuming more and more parents will be ferrying their kids to school in private cars for fear of infection on public transport and ‘privates’? Yes, but really… our air has been rendered suspiciously clean during semi-lockdown.

Right. Someone has to restore the balance. And who better than our Concerned Parents?

Do say: “Kids having to return to school was inevitable despite the non-ideal circumstances. Virtual learning can only go so far, to say nothing of economic-technological gap that exists in society and cannot just be wished away. One only hopes that teachers will be empowered to implement the health authorities’ suggestions in any way they can, and that they will not be demonised for any imperfections, real or perceived.”

Don’t say: “Stop having kids. During a pandemic, it’s the decent thing to do.”

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