If you are the parent of a child aged 4 to 18 who is at school or college, then it is likely that you are currently involved in a game of isolation roulette. As the Covid-19 Delta variant takes a firm grip around the UK, the result is a record number of school-age children being absent from the school environment and back to learning online. Whilst for some, they have avoided having to isolate at all, for others, it is a never-ending cycle of being in school then out, in school then out. Such is the instability, that the government are making it a priority to see what can be done to alleviate this situation. However, with approximately two weeks left of this school year, nothing is going to change imminently. And with the flu season in winter approaching when children go back in September, there are no guarantees that the situation will be able to change dramatically in the near future either.
There remains much debate about the idea of vaccinating school-age children. Whilst it is well-known now that they are far less likely to suffer the serious effects of the disease, they can, of course, pass it on to those who may suffer to a far more serious degree. With our vaccination programme being one of the most successful in the world and it looking like it markedly reduces the amount of people requiring hospitalisation, getting serious disease or at its worst, dying, we are still unsure as to how the rest of this year will pan out.
Luckily for the children, being at home means they are not getting zero education as the online provision is far better than it was in the beginning. Children are able to access classes with their friends so have some involvement socially. However, this cannot be seen as anywhere near ideal and the effects on our children of the pandemic and their mental health is something that is likely to continue to unravel as time goes on.