As tough as this lockdown is for many people, it’s really tough for the kids having to do school work from home, and for their parents who may be trying to juggle work, while also keeping their kids focused on learning.
It’s a juggling act we’ve been keeping up for 4 weeks now, and as Aucklanders enter a fifth week of it, it’s understandable the wheels are starting to fall off a bit. Reality is biting, this is a really long time to have kids away from class.
There’s something irreplaceable about that level of engagement from a teacher face to face, as opposed to online lessons or worksheet instructions. There is huge pressure on students to stay motivated for their at home learning, yet they’re being deprived of their usual tools in a classroom environment, their mates, their sense of purpose, their teacher front and centre.
The younger they are, the tougher it is for them to grasp and stay with this. And tough for working parents too.
The juggle adds enormous amounts of pressure to households. In fact, it’s so tough that many are asking the Government to bring school holidays forward. That’s because by the time Auckland comes out of all this, school students will have spent a total of 9 weeks away from the classroom. Think about it.
We’re having five weeks in level 4, if we come out and move to level 3 next week and do a two-week cycle in level 3, then that’s 7 weeks off school for kids, only to return to school in time for school holidays. That’s another two weeks. So, nine weeks in total. The impact to their learning of that, given term 3 is an intense term with a high level of output, is concerning.
But will the Ministry of Education move the dates?
Teachers Unions hope not, they say it’s too logistically challenging and too much to ask of teachers.
Hipkins said he’d make a decision sooner rather than later but we are of course still waiting for that.
Some clarity is badly needed, for parents who’ll need to plan childcare, for teachers, for the students themselves, and also, for the all-important regional tourist operators.
Think about the implications for them if school holidays get moved forward into level 3 lockdown time, then what does that mean for any domestic travel plans for Aucklanders?
And what do we know about Aucklanders not travelling? It has a devastating knock-on effect for tourist operators throughout the whole country.
So, a lot weighs in the balance here as we wait, and wait, for the Government to answer.
My pick? School holidays are going nowhere, they'll stick with the original dates.