It’s a very stressful times for principals, teachers, classroom assistants at the moment!Schools are re-opening. First years are arriving wearing masks. Some doors are reserved strictly for entry. Other doors reserved solely for exiting. Movement curtailed. Hubs. One way traffic on corridors. Staggered break times. Temperature checks. Sanitisers everywhere. Is that your pencil? Don’t touch other people’s pencils. Keep to yourself! Canteens closed.

Let no one underestimate how stressful and challenging all of this is on every member of the school community. Anxiety is the prevalent emotion. Schools cannot plan properly because this virus has the world in a state of flux. It’s so unsettling.

Staff and students are afraid of contracting Covid-19. People are keeping their distance but schools are meant to be close communities. Play yards are divided. School sports are now contaminated with fear. Will finals even be played? Is there any point in togging out for the trial sessions? How will exams be organised this year?

Restrictions on numbers in restaurants but there are hundreds together in the one school building at the same time. Restrictions on families mixing in the community but members of hundreds of families mixing in classrooms. A lot of it doesn’t make sense.

Frontline workers absolutely deserve our empathy and support. However, we should never underestimate what teachers, classroom assistants and principals are going through at the moment. It’s very stressful. It’s not easy. And it may not even work. It’s certainly not what school is meant to be!

(C) Shane Martin