When we entered the second month of the lockdown and Covid-19 cases increased, my husband and I had a difficult choice to make: Do we take the kid back to school when it reopens?
I say “difficult” because we hold very different opinions on this subject. He is the realist that wants me to acknowledge that this virus is going to be with us for a while. I am the “I am still on level 5” type woman.
But as usual, I won the challenge, and we deregistered our toddler from school. I still stand by that decision.
The mornings of 1 and 8 June saw thousands of schools reopening and subsequently closing, because the virus did not join us on advance level 3.
I am fully aware of the effects this virus is having on the economy. I am also a Mommy Bear and would do anything to protect my child from the Big Bad Wolf. I would rather have her colouring my walls in crayon, screaming my name every two minutes than have her at school, hoping and praying she keeps her mask on and practises social distancing.
She is almost 3 years old and can’t even pronounce “mask”.
It is a lose-lose situation we are finding ourselves in. Millions of parents are required back into the workforce while schools remain unopened. They need the work to pay for school fees (which schools are still expecting regardless of the lockdown). So for them, schools need to be and remain open.
But, is it worth the risk?
New evidence is surfacing every other week as we try and learn of this “invisible enemy”. Children in utero are getting infected by the virus now.
It is fair to say that we are still trying to figure out what we are dealing with here.
But, we have to deal, right? Wrong. Not with the wellbeing of my child. I have an ill mother-in-law staying with me. If – God forbid – my daughter gets infected, remains asymptomatic and infects mom, am I going to be proud of supporting the reopening of the economy and society? Doubt it.
Instead of the government addressing the inequalities that are eating away at our society, they decide to reopen schools and the economy. Online learning is not a possibility in many communities because they are riddled with poverty.
Some children probably don’t even know how to switch on a computer.
That is the challenge for our government. Fix issues of inequality, and an overwhelmed schooling system. Fix school bathrooms while you are at it.
And while you do that, I’ll be dealing with my temper tantrums and learning colours at home for as long I need to. I’m not in a hurry for her to take over the world just yet.
Rather that than being in quarantine and risking the lives of others.
For my household and many others, its a matter of life and death.
Karabo Mokoena is a wife, a girl mom, a writer and content creator. She is the Resident Contributor for Parenty and a Mommy Blogger, creating relatable parenting content for her blog Black Mom Chronicles. You can engage with her on her Instagram and Facebook pages. She is a Political Science graduate, who has worked in Human Resources for most of her professional career. She loves engaging with people, thus her choice to specialise in recruitment. She loves telling stories and sharing her life’s journey to brighten someone else’s day.