After five long months, Adam and Hannah return to school tomorrow. Rebecca starts back the following week. It feels like forever since we have seen them in their school uniforms but tomorrow morning the alarm clock will be set for 6 a.m. and organised chaos will again descend upon the Black household. No more lying in until lunchtime, the return of homework and dirty sports kits. It’s another step towards normality, or at least we hope it is.
Of course, the kids are returning to a very different school environment from the one they left. Social distancing, mask wearing and enhanced hand hygiene will be the mantra preached by their teachers and classroom assistants, policies we wholeheartedly support. We know the children are going into safe, secure schools where the necessary steps have been taken to minimise as much as possible the risk of the virus being transmitted and spread.
There will be some anxiety, that is only natural, but the overriding emotions are those of relief and excitement. Looking forward to meeting school friends who they have barely seen in months, tackling fresh subjects, a return to how their lives should be. Kids should not be cooped up indoors for months on end, even though it was a necessary evil. They need to be outdoors, living their lives and learning more about how the world works.
We hope that this is another step in the right direction, that the days of fear and lockdown are forever behind us. The virus is still out there, it doesn’t rest and will strike again and again if we become complacent and allow our guard to slip. All we can do is follow the rules in order to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the wider community. I hope that, wherever you are today, you are safe and well. I hope you are walking towards normality.