Thursday, 19 March 2020

Day 1

We are in strange and unprecedented times as the world tries to understand the impact of the Coronavirus, COVID-19...and for some life will never be the same again.

Once through all of this it will be one of those moments in time that I think will stay with us and change us for a long time to come.

So here I am typing this on Day 1 of being at home from work. I took the decision yesterday to close the pre-school I manage; I was fed up waiting for our government to tell us what to do and it was not doing any of my staff, the children or parents any good.

Our attendance had dropped dramatically as parents took heed of government advice to self isolate if they, their child or another family member developed a dry cough or a high temperature. Parents didn't know what to do for the best and a lot decided to err on the side of caution. We were struggling to get some basic hygiene products...yes toilet paper was one of them...as the whole world has gone crazy and decided panic buying is the best strategy. I have staff who have their own health concerns (me included) or elderly relatives that rely on them. Then when I heard that both Wales and Scotland were closing their schools I thought enough is enough...I'm done! I cried. I could cry now thinking about it. Pre-school means the world to me and my staff and to close for who knows how long is a very peculiar situation to be in.

All the parents were extremely supportive and understanding we even got bought chocolates and wine - so thoughtful!!

So that brings me to today and my first day at home for who knows how long. I get the distinct impression from what information I can understand and digest that we are in this for the long haul; this will be months not just weeks, I fear!

But my day started as normal, up early and breakfast sorted so that my eldest could get on his way to work by 7.30am. We are hoping that by the end of tomorrow he will be able to work from home. And then the rest of my day has revolved around work as there is still stuff that I can be doing to ensure that the boring administration and financial side of things are kept on top of. I am also thinking about how we can keep in touch with parents and support them whilst they have their children at home with them. I am happy to do all this as it will keep me busy and I can manage my days as a mix of work and home stuff.

I am fortunate that Simon has worked from home for the past 7 years so he is not affected work-wise but I am also aware that me being at home makes his day 'feel' different and we have already spoke about making sure we still have weekends and holiday time; to have that need for some normality however twisted that may need to be.

I keep finding myself on good old social media and getting dragged down the rabbit hole of various group pages all to do with the early years sector and insurance and funding and closing or not closing and to be frank it's really annoying me now. Lots of people trying to second guess and then moan and not really offer any answers. I wasted too much time on that this morning I will be 'unfollowing' and just relying on the information received from the official sources I think from now on.

Other events of the day...we had a new coffee machine arrive after ours broke yesterday...obviously a must-have to see us through this crisis! Along with a new wifi plug so that we can get wifi in our garage where we have set-up our new home gym equipment. Simon and I have decided to get out in the fresh air every day (come rain or shine) and took a walk into the countryside near us. We are very fortunate to live on the edge of a village with open fields just a few minutes away; we only saw two other people whilst we were out and kept our distance.

Unfortunately the rest of my afternoon was spent dealing with more early years stuff as I tried to establish whether any of my parents fall into the category of 'key workers' and what that means for my pre-school and the logistics and financial implications of re-opening for a few or not. Relying on guidance issued by government and local authorities is not the easiest as the language used seems determined to confuse the average reader.

And all the while I keep thinking that the country really needs to step up its game and just accept that we need to lock down. Close all but the essentials. Batten down the hatches and kick this virus up the butt!

These are weird and scary times. The thought of not being able to go out for a coffee, or visit friends, or do a bit of retail therapy, or go to one of our favourite burlesque shows is a really peculiar feeling; almost a sense of loss. But we have no choice we just have to get on with it, set ourselves some routines, find new things to do, a new hobby you've always wanted to try, catch up on missed TV shows, read an actual book and connect with those closest to you.

Day 1 over and out.

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