“It’s all too unpredictable.” How 12 different parents are feeling about the return to school.

It’s normally kids who dread the start of a new school year, but this time, quite a few parents have knots of worry in their stomach as the first day gets closer. 

While some just can’t wait to get their children inside the school gates, others have concerns. State governments have been announcing their back-to-school plans, but those plans have raised as many questions as they have answers. 

Watch 5 Types of Parents at School Pickup. Post continues after video.

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I know I have questions. Are schoolkids going to wear masks properly when so many adults wear them under their noses? Will other people’s children actually do the rapid antigen tests – and what about those false negatives?

How much protection does a kid get from just one dose of vaccine?

After two years of upheaval caused by COVID, I want my children to be able to focus on learning this year, without disruption. But is it realistic to hope for that when we’re living with COVID?

Here, 12 parents share how they’re feeling about the return to school. 

“I am immune compromised and am scared.”

“I am immune compromised and am scared of my two children getting COVID and bringing it home. We are all as vaxxed as current policies allow (kids have their first shot). I wish there was an option for learning from home from their school but understand that requires extra resources. They have a good school community so wouldn’t like to withdraw them to homeschool and take them away from that. I am very grateful we are in Queensland with a two-week delay but wish it was a four-week delay. I am dreading the return to school.”

“I'm not worried.”

“I’m not worried. We’re better prepared than when we sent them back in Term 4 last year in NSW. All teachers should have been boosted and most kids could have had their first shot by next week. Plus RATs are being sent to schools. I’m keen to move forward.”

“Nervous. Confused. Overwhelmed.”

“Nervous. Confused. Overwhelmed. I trust, though, that schools will be doing the best they can to keep the kids and teachers well. We are in SA so have a phased return. My children will be Year 1 and Year 4. I have bought masks for them both and we've been practising wearing them so they are used to them. While I'm nervous about the COVID situation, I'm also nervous for the social and academic future of my kids if face-to-face learning continues to be disrupted as it has been over the last two years.”

“I feel somewhat ‘relaxed’.”

“As a mum, I feel somewhat ‘relaxed’, as hopefully most of the children have now been vaccinated. As a preschool teacher, I am terrified. We are in an old building with poor ventilation, none of the children will be vaccinated, and I envisage many weeks at home, and so help me, if I have to try to ‘teach’ preschoolers online again, I think I will break. My classroom will be predominantly outside and I see lots of walks and neighbourhood explorations on the plan! It will be okay.”


“Cannot wait!”

“Cannot wait! My kids are vaxxed. Really hoping that they can have an uninterrupted year of learning in the classroom.”

“It’s all too unpredictable.”

“One of my daughters starts kindergarten this year and the other starts Year 6. Both such special years, and I am strongly considering doing school from home. With how contagious this strain is, it’s all too unpredictable for kids that so badly need predictability after two years of this. It’s too much pressure on everyone.”

“A bit concerned.”

“Happy they will be in school, although not enough opportunities to get vaxxed yet for the littles, so a bit concerned there. I was only able to book for my eight-year-old for next Monday for his first, so he certainly won’t have any immunity yet for the first couple weeks of school, let alone the second dose.”

“I’m not sure we are prepared enough.”

“As a teacher and a parent, I’m concerned. Schools will do all they can do. However, relying on students and families to enforce, remember or prioritise completing a RAT is ominous. Also, the back-up plan for when teachers get COVID and classes cannot be covered will inhibit quality education – classes will be combined or covered by non-teaching staff who do not know the students or the content of the lessons. Also, students are back on Tuesday and most schools outside of the Sydney region have not received air purifiers. I’m not sure we are prepared enough.”

“A massive part of me is happy.”

“A massive part of me is happy my youngest son, starting Year 8 this year in SA, gets to go back to face-to face learning straightaway. He was basically away from the school environment all last year due to extreme bullying. My eldest will be Year 9 and learning from home for the first two weeks, and while I’d prefer him to be at school, he has a serious comorbidity, so he will be safer at home. Having said all that, my partner also has a serious comorbidity and I worry about the kids bringing it home to him.”

“We will work through it.”

“My concern is around isolating and being close contacts (in WA) as we are a FIFO family and have three kids – it’s the having to isolate with one kid or being the close contact and therefore not being able to get the others to school. But we will work through that!”

“Feeling anxious.”

“Feeling anxious and constantly worried as a teacher with three kids at two different schools. Knowing we are highly likely to get it, seeing how sick some fully vaxxed friends have been, knowing it’s likely I will have to use all my sick leave staying home each time one of my kids needs to isolate, worrying about how I’m going to catch kids up when there will be different kids absent all the time. Kids need to get back to normal schooling but this is not going to be normal in any way.”

“Not even slightly concerned.”

“Not even slightly concerned for my four children, apart from the fact that their lives may be potentially disturbed by further lockdowns. Extremely concerned about the mental health of the poor teachers having to deal with all of the extra stress and burdens being heaped upon their already exhausted shoulders.”

Feature Image: Getty.

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