Kid’s well-being vs. face-to-face education in the pandemic

It is so difficult to say for sure what I think or feel about the corona pandemic these days. We have been living in this pandemic for more than a year now. The biggest thing for me is living with and educating the kids during this time. We, as a family, have been really lucky that we are settled in Germany. My husband has a good job, he has been able to work from home easily without losing half of his salary. I am able to stay home comfortably and take care of my kids’ education (something that I have definitely no training for). Others have not been so lucky. I know people who have lost their jobs or struggled to do or keep their jobs while homeschooling their kids.

Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been questioning the severity of this virus and been worried about the global reactions to it. Germany has a very conservative, rule-following culture. We have followed every rule and lock-down strategy given by the government, even if we don’t fully agree with them. The worst worry for me is what it is doing to the kids. They have been put through lock-down after lock-down. Not allowed to see friends, having to wear masks all day at school (when they are allowed in schools) and now, to be allowed to be in face-to-face classes, they need to be tested twice a week either by a medical professional or do a self test in front of the teachers in school! Being tested in school is not compulsory, but having a negative test to go to school is compulsory. I totally disagree with testing in class, but it is weird, so many people are for this crazy testing. So many, in fact, that I’m starting to doubt my feelings about it. Am I the one who is being insane?

My main concern with in-class-testing is that the kids get bullied for being tested positive for corona or get bullied for not doing the test in class like the others. It was like when the kids first had to wear masks in school, the teachers did not have to enforce this, the kids did that themselves. One thing you learn pretty quickly about German culture is that ‘civilian policing’ is a big part of every day life. It really doesn’t phase a complete stranger to have a go at you for literally anything they might think you are doing wrong. I have been scolded more as an adult in the past 6 years than in my entire life, including primary school. Comments from absolute strangers include: “where is your child’s hat?” or “this is not where you are allowed to park/cross the road/walk your dog!”

You don’t see a lot of police presence, but it is clearly not needed here. I always said that was one of the things wrong with South Africa – if no one says anything when they see someone running a red light or littering, how can they expect people not to get away with bigger crimes?

I think what I am trying to say is that it would be a whole lot easier to go with the flow here and do the myriads of corona tests they require and eventually get the vaccinations, but I feel like giving in may be detrimental to my soul. If I am opposed to something, wouldn’t it be better for me to stand up for myself, go with my gut and not be bullied into something that I am not quite happy with? Don’t I want to teach my kids to say “no” to peer pressure? I don’t want to be doing something just because everyone else is doing it. My kids do not have the knowledge to make decisions like that yet, so I have to try guide them and make the decisions for them. I am not against vaccinations, but for me they need to be tried and tested. If I am not willing to take the vaccination myself or even test myself when I am not sick, why would I allow my kids to be constantly tested or be vaccinated.

Next week our incidence count is under 165 (new cases per day for 7 days per 100 000 people). This means that my daughter may, for the first time in months, go to class alternating days of the week. There is a public holiday on Thursday and she is in group B which means she goes to school on Tuesday next week. Only Tuesday. I have not consented to in-class testing, so I will need to take her for a test on Monday if I want her to be in school for one day. Is it worth it? I’m not sure. I will let you know in my next article what my husband and I have decided. What would you do?

Published by Brigadoon

I‘m a South African mom living in Bavaria Germany

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