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AIBU to not want DS (5) to clean tables at school after being ill with pneumonia

(73 Posts)
debs227 Sat 23-Mar-13 23:41:34

AIBU to ask DS's teacher not to give him the classroom job of cleaning the class tables before lunch with a damp cloth.
DS is year 1, they eat their packed lunches in their classroom. DS had the job of cleaning the tables everyday before lunch. he was doing this everyday before he was off sick.
He has been off school for 7 weeks due to being extremely ill with several viruses which then culminated in a week long hospital stay due to him being diagnosed with pneumonia and he couldn't breathe.
I can't help but feel that he picked up the many viruses from all the germs passed around at school and from wiping the tables!
His first day back will be Monday and I am getting very worked up about it.


Donnadoon Sun 24-Mar-13 00:17:38

I have been there, horrendous to watch your child gasp for breath and be unable to eat and drink for coughing
I would only send him back for mornings at first, it's really going to take it out of him going back
Also my ds was quite tearful because I think it wears them emotionally as well as physically
You are not being pfb, pneumonia is no joke!

SquinkieBunnies Sun 24-Mar-13 01:05:29

It's awful watching your child loose weight and be so sick sad
I hope the teacher is using more than a damp cloth to "clean" off the tables before and after, and it has some sort of cleaner in it. Not much point pushing the dirt and germs about is there that's minging, and their food might end up on all that dirt and germs they push about

zipzap Sun 24-Mar-13 01:51:31

If this was my ds, I would definitely want him to have a gentle start back to school with allowances made - no excessive PE, letting him go somewhere quiet for a sit down or nap if it all gets a bit much, letting him know that if he is feeling rough again he needs to tell the teacher so she can contact you to pick him up and so on.

If adults were going back to work having been off for 7 weeks with pneumonia, they wouldn't be going back straight into the thick of it, they would pace themselves sensibly and exactly the same thing is needed for kids.

Recovery isn't a simple 'Yes/No' answer to the question 'are you better?'

It's a continuum. And there is that stage when you have been seriously ill that you are well enough to start doing things gently and it is better for you than just sitting and mooching around at home, but not up to working flat out.

nicelyneurotic Sun 24-Mar-13 06:39:19

I'm sorry your son has had a rubbish time. Pneumonia is very scary.

You should ask for him to be spared any cleaning duties if it will give you peace of mind. But why are they getting 5 years olds to wipe a germy damp cloth over all the tables? That won't clean anything properly and no doubt just spreads the germs around. Surely an adult should be doing this job with some dettol or similar if kids are going to be eating there? I'd have a chat with the teacher.

Sirzy Sun 24-Mar-13 07:36:24

Ds isn't at school yet but is prone to pneumonia. It is a tough situation but I think I would be asking for an 'easier' job for him to do, one which doesn't involve any physical effort and the little energy he has needs to be saved for learning and playing.

Can you arrange a meeting with his teacher to talk about how to make his return as easy as possible?

Montybojangles Sun 24-Mar-13 08:28:30

im slightly OCD with cleaning and thats maybe part of the problem, please read this link below. It's actually quite important that children are exposed to a certain amount of germs if they are to develop a healthy immune system.

On a separate note, I'm sorry your DS has been so poorly, and would hope the school would ease him back into his normal routine, as he is likely to still be pretty tired from a protracted illness requiring hospital admission.

RedHelenB Sun 24-Mar-13 08:33:50

Wiping tables is usually the best job in the children's eyes!!

diddl Sun 24-Mar-13 08:53:59

Oh your poor son really has been through it.

7wks off school!

Now I'm normally in the camp of there aren't germs hiding everywhere waiting to pounce.

But the thought of the state that that "damp cloth" might be in-bleurgh!

lljkk Sun 24-Mar-13 09:25:03

Table wiping cloths at our school are sterilised then go into hot soapy water pre-wiping. To clean up at the end, after wipe with cloth we go over again with antibac spray at the end of the dinnertime. I could understand you checking out how the cloth is made hygienic, but I wouldn't ban it necessarily.

Helpexcel Sun 24-Mar-13 09:30:17

As a mother of a child who has had pneumonia, I would INSIST that your does not do this job or in fact any job. He needs to be taking it easy and gradually building himself back up again.

BoffinMum Sun 24-Mar-13 09:35:51

Ask for him to be put in charge of pencil sharpening, which is something he can do sitting down, peacefully.

greenfolder Sun 24-Mar-13 09:39:48

to be honest, someone else has been doing this for the last 7 weeks. the idea of this being "his" job is probably long forgotten. no doubt your rational self knows that wiping a cloth over a table at 5 is unlikely to cause illness. but your mothers instinct is maybe focussing on this as something you can control. i suppose the question is,how do you phrase this to the teacher without looking somewhat pfb? i think that i would just say to the teacher that you really dont want him to do it because of your worries. and leave it at that. its a tiny thing to the teacher, and the child whose job it now is will probably not want to relinquish! no doubt your ds could be pencil monitor (do they still have them?) or register monitor or something.

skratta Sun 24-Mar-13 10:42:00

Can I ask, is he going straight back to a full day? DTD2 had pneumonia, off for seven weeks and a bit, so za similar time, and when she restarted, it was half days at first for a week or so, and for the two weeks after that when she was full time, she had home lunch (so DH, because he works at home, picked her up at lunch, she ate there, they went back) because lunchtime was the most tiring for her. I would be concerned about going strait back to school, which is always very busy, and even I'd you can't physically manage to do the half days or whatever, I'd ask the teacher to make some allowances, suggest a quiet job (like someone suggested, pencil sharpening?) and ask if he can get in earlier and out earlier by five minutes or something, because the scrums or queues for coats and bags, or when getting in, is very, very tiring for a child who has been put suddenly back into a very loud, exhausting environment after an illness.

Fairenuff Sun 24-Mar-13 12:55:14

the child who cleans the table of every other child in the class is actually exposed to more germs than if he or she would not be involved in cleaning. So your DS who cleans everyone's table every day every week is likely to be exposed to more germs compared to other children in the class

This is simply not true.

The child is handling a cloth which may contain bacteria so, yes, he is being exposed to germs. However, he will also handle pencils that every other child has touched, put in their mouth, ear or up their nose (as many 5 year olds still do). He will hold hands with children who do not wash after toileting. He may have other children sneeze and cough in his face.

After wiping tables, he will wash his hands. Will he wash his hands after every other activity?

Ask for him to be put in charge of pencil sharpening, which is something he can do sitting down, peacefully

There is more chance that he will pick up an infection from handling pencils tbh.

If he is well enough to be in school, he is well enough to join in with all activities. If you think he should have a reduced timetable in order to rest, you should speak to the teacher about possibly collecting him early each day and taking him home to rest.

School is not a place to convalesce and there will be no-one to supervise him having a quiet rest anyway.

bobsnotabuilder Sun 24-Mar-13 12:57:01

My mums a cleaner and she got pneumonia from cleaning products so I would say YANBU

bobsnotabuilder Sun 24-Mar-13 12:58:25

It can take up to a year to fully recover from it despite you looking "fine" to everyone

Cherriesarelovely Sun 24-Mar-13 13:04:47

I don't blame you for feeling worried about it OP. It sounds as if your Ds has had a really horrible time. Talk to the teacher about it. I hope she is sympathetic. I don't agree with the poster who said this is an inappropriate job for a child in general though!

TheCraicDealer Sun 24-Mar-13 13:12:23

At first I thought you were being a bit precious OP, but as the thread's moved on I see where you're coming from more now.

It's a good idea to try and have some sort of "phased" return to work school. You wouldn't have an adult dive back into a full time week after being off for that long, never mind a five year old.

However- do you think your attitude to cleaning has imbued this chore with more risk than is actually the case? He's going to be around germs all day, every day whether he's in school, at home or in the hospital.

beatofthedrum Sun 24-Mar-13 13:22:24

I think the fact it is worrying you makes it more than reasonable to request that he does not do the job. It will have no impact on the teacher, if it has an impact on you/your child then it is worth speaking up. If I had worries about my child I would stop them doing it whatever anyone else thought. It's you that has to sit and worry - I'm sure the teacher wouldn't want that. He's been very ill, any health related requests would surely be considered absolutely understandable.

Hissy Sun 24-Mar-13 14:13:04

I think that YANBU. Your lad needs to recuperate. Rest and taking things easy for a while is one way he can do that.

Pneumonia is a serious illness, and in a child as young as this, it's potentially life threatening.

When I had Chicken Pox aged 30, I was told that there is NO way that you catch it from a third party, you have to have contact with someone with it. I didn't know or meet anyone with CP directly, but my colleagues DC had it. I know someone else who caught it 3rd party too.

When I was in inventories, the exposure to other peoples germs/daily life DID impact on my immune system. i am not in Infant School, my immunosystem is stronger than a child in Yr1, but I still got loads of coughs, colds and sore throats.

Now that I don't do this job anymore, I am hardly ever ill.

So for all the muppets posters that rant and say you can't catch germs from others, that it won't make a difference, the OP is YABU, precious etc, get off those high horses and give them a break.

OP, write the letter, and tell them that you won't give permission to his doing extra duties for the remainder of this school year.

greensmoothiegoddess Sun 24-Mar-13 14:24:13

Am I the only one who is wondering why the hell a pupil has to do this wiping tables job? That's why the school employ midday assistants! I am not even taking the pneumonia/germy issue into account.

cumfy Sun 24-Mar-13 15:29:06

I take it they ruled out TB ?

cumfy Sun 24-Mar-13 15:30:29

I think you are being entirely sensible in the short term.

alistron1 Sun 24-Mar-13 15:42:27

Without wanting to sound like a Daily Mail writer this is a real H&S issue. I work in a school. At lunchtime many of the kids want to help with table wiping ( in the hall) but they aren't allowed to because of exposure to the sterilising solution used to clean the tables.

I can't believe that kids at your school are eating lunch in their class room. Lots of studies have shown that work spaces (and I'm thinking offices here, not schools) are festering with all sorts of pathogens. I'm actually stunned that your kid is eating in his class room!!

Wrt to pneumonia - my 16 year old had it before Xmas. She was off school for a month. When she went back she was excused from PE/games for a few weeks. Even now she's still not 'right' and gets very tired. Keep an eye on your son and if you think a reduced timetable would be beneficial for him then ask for it. It's a debilitating thing and recovery should not be rushed.

thebody Sun 24-Mar-13 15:46:52

Must have been very worrying for you all.

I work in a school and don't really see its the kids job to wipe tables really, that's done by lunch time supervisors usually.

However any task should be rotated so if he's doing it all the time that's unfair. If they take turns I suppose its ok but still not the kids job really.

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