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Social distancing in schools- mental health

(366 Posts)
Myfriendanxiety Thu 23-Apr-20 16:11:32

Does anyone else feel that they would rather home school their children indefinitely than send them to a school where they have to social distance?

I really worry about the mental health of children if they are forced to sit alone at desks 2m apart from others without any proper play time or interaction. I just can’t see how this type of schooling is going to be beneficial to children and how it will create a positive learning environment.

My DS has another year before he starts school luckily- but if he were starting in September to a school system based on social distancing then I wouldn’t be sending him.

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RigaBalsam Thu 23-Apr-20 16:17:01

I agree I just don't think it will happen. Any teacher unless they have extremely compliant children knows this.

Piggywaspushed Thu 23-Apr-20 16:18:56

I think the overlooked thing amongst the 'get them back to school' lobby is how stressful and intense socially distanced schooling will be at all age groups. It could be really draining for staff and students who thrive on social interaction and often need close social proximity to teach and learn.

It won't be normal school by any stretch.

TimeForChange123 Thu 23-Apr-20 16:21:51

I'm worrying about the mental health of children being kept at home and indoors constantly with anxious parents (not saying your DC are OP, or that you're anxious, just my concerns from reading lots of MN threads)

Chocolatecakeandpinkcustard Thu 23-Apr-20 16:23:02

What's the alternative?

You talk about home schooling. I've got a secondary school age child. There's no way I'd have the ability to home school. There's a reason teachers train for years and specialise in subjects.

I've also got a job and a younger child. I could possibly home school the younger one for a while, but not alongside my job.

PumpkinP Thu 23-Apr-20 16:23:26

I will be sending mine back but that’s because I can’t home school indefinitely, I’m finding it impossible with dd (has autism) so I will be sending them back but I agree I think this whole thing is going to effect children very negatively but we aren’t allowed to say that on here as you get shot down and told they will get over it.

Myfriendanxiety Thu 23-Apr-20 16:23:27

@Piggywaspushed yes it really worries me.

I am worried about the development of my 3 year old if he spends the next year or so without playing with children his own age.

I am a teacher and and my children go to a childminders, but she is shielding and so I’m now faced with trying to find new childcare for my children to then go and be incredibly unhappy at work. I’m seriously considering whether we can manage without my wage for the foreseeable future.

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Letseatgrandma Thu 23-Apr-20 16:24:55

I agree that it won’t be school as normal but nothing else is going to be ‘back to normal’ for some time yet, so schools will not be unusual in that.

I would much much rather attempt social distancing with 10 to a class though and let the ‘science’ see how that impacts spread and transmission, than just open to 30 a class as ‘normal’ as that would be a huge sudden risk to all, especially vulnerable children, staff and parents.

Chocolatecakeandpinkcustard Thu 23-Apr-20 16:29:08

I'll no doubt be called dramatic and told to get a grip, but I really feel if this goes on which it seemingly will, it's stolen childhood.

It isn't just school but everything children know and enjoy.

DaisylovesDonald Thu 23-Apr-20 16:29:52

I am happy to send my children back to school when they reopen, June, September, whenever that might be. I have no general concerns about doing this with the one exception of them being told to keep a distance from each other. It’s just an impossible ask. Mine are both in primary. I don’t mind if they go back part time or however they choose to arrange it but trying to get young children to social distance from each other would be horrific for them. It’s the one thing that would make me keep them at home for a bit longer. I think it would be worse for them than not being able to go at all.

Grasspigeons Thu 23-Apr-20 16:30:09

I agree that arrival, exit, break time and lunch times are the hardest parts of the day to socially distance. (And transition between classrooms in secondary!) theres no point attempting socially distant classrooms if these arent solved.

I cant see how you can do eyfs/key stage 1 learning through play and social distance.

Im less concerned about the desks 2 meters apart for older children. Lots of kids might prefer that instead of someone pulling their hair or elbowing them whilst sat on the floor. My sons special school has 8 pupils each sat on their own desk, facing the front. They can still talk and do group discussions.

rjebgf Thu 23-Apr-20 16:30:12

Our school won’t be able to fit kids in the building with social distancing.

Musicalmistress Thu 23-Apr-20 16:30:28

@RigaBalsam having been in a hub school recently with a very small group (5) of very compliant children even they couldn't manage. Not through disobedience, they just get sidetracked & forgot so needed frequent reminders.

Myfriendanxiety Thu 23-Apr-20 16:30:49

@Letseatgrandma yes I understand that. But I wouldn’t have my small child part of the 10 in a class experiment. He wouldn’t cope with having to stay away from his peers and to sit at a desk all day!

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BogRollBOGOF Thu 23-Apr-20 16:31:50

My guess is that there will be reduced timetables to accommodate reduced classes on shifts. You can't feasibly social distance children. Mental and social development is as important as physical health and will last a lot longer than a viral infection.

You also can't teach effectively if teachers wear PPE such as masks because so much non-verbal communication is lost. DS has ASD and struggles with forms of communication such as phones/ video calling where he doesn't have the full range of information to "read". He uses that to mask his way through a school day.

Wannaflyaway Thu 23-Apr-20 16:32:52

I think the idea of social distancing in schools is absurd and unsustainable. If desks are two meters apart you'd need huge classrooms, so is the plan fit huge extensions onto all existing schools? Also how do you enforce the 2 meter distancing at playtime? You might as well scrap playtime altogether. I agree it'll be really damaging to children's mental health, at a time when their brains are still developing. The poor children will end up being terrified of human contact. My heart breaks but children and parents right now.

Wannaflyaway Thu 23-Apr-20 16:33:43

Should say my heart breaks for...

Chocolatecakeandpinkcustard Thu 23-Apr-20 16:34:46

I doubt they'll actually expect children to social distance.

I suspect school might be part time, small groups and no whole school assemblies/dinners/playtimes.

A bit like how you're allowed with your own family groups.

Myfriendanxiety Thu 23-Apr-20 16:35:26

@DaisylovesDonald yes I agree. I’m happy to go back to work whenever schools open, and I’m happy to teach teenagers at desks 2m apart as they are old enough to cope with it. I do feel that long term this would impact on their mental health- but lots of countries around the world teach with children at single desks and manage.

However for primary children I think it’s really quite cruel to expect them to attend school like this.

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Sleepyblueocean Thu 23-Apr-20 16:36:00

I think school would have to be part time for most children anyway.
My son is still attending school as a vulnerable child. They aren’t inforcing the 2m rule with them because that isn't possible with them although some naturally keep away from the others but the class is very small and they don't mix with other classes.

Hippofrog Thu 23-Apr-20 16:36:58

How can you distance 4 yr olds? I’d love someone to tell me.

Chocolatecakeandpinkcustard Thu 23-Apr-20 16:38:10

They won't will they? We all know you can't distance 4 year olds.

They'll stick in small groups.

Chocolatecakeandpinkcustard Thu 23-Apr-20 16:40:46

What is the alternative?

Close schools until a vaccine is rolled out? Maybe that will happen, but children will suffer.

If we isolate children from society altogether, for a prolonged period of time it's bound to do damage. That's without things like parents poor mental health.

Piggywaspushed Thu 23-Apr-20 16:41:56

The secondary thing is not as simple as MN thinks. We have small classrooms. We don't have single desks. We have corridors and canteens and school buses and hormones and rebellion.

Piggywaspushed Thu 23-Apr-20 16:42:54

I think a lot of teens are liable to struggle socially and mentally more than the littluns to be honest.

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