Back To Normal?

On September 3rd, we went back to school. For me, this is my final year, Year 13, A Level year. Whether I will be able to take my exams at the end of the year or not, or whether or not they will be pushed backwards at all, remains unknown. Right now there are talks about pushing them back 3 weeks – to be honest, I don’t mind how we will do them, as long as we do in fact take the exams and know sooner rather than later.

How weird is it being back at school? To start off, three weeks ago it was very odd. After not having been with my year group for over six months, it was strange to see everybody in the same year group ‘bubble’. At my school, each year group has been allocated a marquee where we have to go if we are not in lessons. Therefore, school is currently very boring, repetitive, and tiring: all we do is work and sit in the marquee, which feels forced, as though we don’t even have a ‘break time’.

Everybody follows the mask rule diligently; so far I have seen no student without a mask. The teachers remind us to wipe down our desks before and after use, and to use hand sanitiser frequently. Everybody does this without complaint. For this reason, I feel safe and secure at school, but I am aware that not all schools are this thorough.

Our school stresses the necessity to avoid other year groups, which I understand, although when it comes to Sports, in the upper years, Years 11, 12 and 13 mix on a Wednesday afternoon. For example, I play hockey with Year 11 and 12. I understand that the point of all the precautions with regards to Covid and contagion is to limit the impact and to limit the number of cases etc, but to me this seems a little daft, as I also play hockey at a local club outside of school with people from different year groups at my school. Also, what about siblings? Surely having them all in different year group bubble also causes problems?

Most of school-life seems the same, to an extent. Seeing everybody in masks isn’t foreign anymore and we’ve all accustomed to it. Although the one-way systems around school don’t always work all too well, we all do our best to keep safe and maintain social-distancing without complaint.

The next thing to question is exams and what the next phase will look like. When will inter-school sports fixtures commence, or will they at all? Will there be a second lockdown which would mean all or some lessons to be online, or will Year 11, 12 and 13 remain in school?

We are still amidst the ‘unprecedented times of COVID’, as 2020 has often been referred to, but I believe that if we maintain our efforts to adhere to the government guidelines and be sensible, fingers crossed, school and other work places will be able to return to normal ASAP, whatever ‘normal’ now is. It is a scary time for us all, with the looming threat of a second total lockdown, but as long as we all stick through it together and keep checking in on friends and families, we can get through it in one piece.

For more information about COVID-19 and related ‘coronavirus’ restricitons, please see gov.uk, or take a look at this article below from the Guardian newspaper online:

(please note that I do not own the photos and they are taken from the Guardian’s website – data is taken from data.gov.uk)

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