Poll results: Mental health, risk of infection and safety concerns for parents in Huntingdonshire

Parents raise concerns over June 1 school return. Pictured is a rainbow on a window in St Ives. Pict

Parents raise concerns over June 1 school return. Pictured is a rainbow on a window in St Ives. Picture: FACEBOOK - Credit: Archant

Parents say mental health, risk of spreading infection and safety of staff are the top priority before schools should reopen, our poll revealed.

Out of nearly 1000 parents, teachers and pupils who took part - 61 per cent said they preferred a September start day, 22 per cent want a vaccine in place first, around 12 per cent want children to return in June and four per cent said July.

However, there were those that feared not being in a classroom setting was having a worse effect on the health of youngsters.

The majority also felt that home-schooling was “moderately easy” on a scale of one to five.

Here is what readers in Huntingdonshire said in response to our poll, which was conducted across Cambridgeshire last week.

“Don’t use our children as a science experiment,” parent, Huntingdon, September return preferred.

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“Home-schooling is being provided; the children are safe at home the situation is worse than it was when we went into lockdown as there are so many more infected people now.

“I just wish I could do what feels natural and keep them safe at home.

“Lives need to be put before business,” parent, Ramsey, only return when a vaccine is in place.

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“Teachers and kids often have hidden disabilities that make them susceptible to this bug, what happens when they all go off sick?

“Classrooms aren’t large enough to have 2m distance between them,” parent, Huntingdon, only when a vaccine is in place.

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“All primary aged children should return asap with no special arrangements.

“No child under 10 has passed it to another child or to an adult,” parent, Godmanchester, June return preferred.

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“Children can’t social distance,” parent, Ramsey, September return preferred.

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“To put young children back into a very unfamiliar situation when they have been at home with their parents for so long, to me is more damaging to their mental health than have any value educationally. “The staff cannot comfort them and make them feel safe because they will be put at risk.

“I see no long-term harm in waiting until September to return as they will not be sticking to any kind of formal curriculum.

“To me, it makes no logical sense bringing back the youngest of our children as a testing ground,” teaching assistant and parent, Great Paxton, September return preferred.

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“This is ruining the mental health of a whole generation of school children,” parent, St Ives, June return preferred.

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“Not enough work has been set and after eight weeks my child is no longer engaged with work.

“He also misses the social setting.

“The teachers need to put their big pants on and get back to work like the nurses and supermarket workers have all throughout this pandemic,” parent, Huntingdon, June return preferred.

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“It is irresponsible and arrogant of government ministers to ignore the opinion of experts (teachers and the BMA) who do not think it safe for children to be returning to school,” parent, Huntingdon, only when a vaccine is in place.

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Here are selection of comments from our social media:

Jenifer Evans said: “It’s not an easy decision for the government to make, but we have to start somewhere to get out of the terrible tragic time.

“It’s not been easy for us all with this terrible virus, but we must start coming out carefully of the lockdown in the hope we will recover and beat this.”

Amanda Buckenham said: “We need to protect our children. And the staff at the schools.”

Geoff Chase said: “No way! Bad enough sending the kids back and putting them at risk, but when they catch it they will bring it home and infect their older parents and grandparents - both who are at higher risk?”

Emma Saunders said: “Why would I send my children back when the cases and deaths are a lot higher than they were when they closed the schools in the first place?

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