Sing to “School’s out for Summer”.
The ministry of education has finally acted and from Monday on, all schools and daycares are closed. Which is good and necessary. You want to know why schools need to be closed? Here’s an easy example: the primary school next to our school has two suspected cases. They share a schoolyard. One kid is the younger sibling of one of our 7th graders, the other one is the kid of one of our colleagues. Which means that if they are confirmed I may have to go into quarantine. That means no leaving the house. At all. No, not even taking out the trash. It has to be stored inside until we’re declared clear. You aren’t even allowed to put out money for the delivery service, that is considered contagious. Friends and family would have to put food on our doorstep. Oh, and no outdoor crafting.
Not closing schools would mean the kids could spread it, even undetected. I could pass it to my kids, who go to school in a different county. The cycle starts again. Of course this also brings a hell lot of problems for parents of younger kids. I already offered to take in a friend’s kids (should I be declared clear).
What I’m really salty about is how all this happened. Closing schools has been discussed for weeks. We could have had weeks to prepare. But last night the government still said that schools will stay open in order to “ensure quality education”. This morning, the news already reported that we’re being closed down, but until 10 o’clock or so we had no official information. Then we were told to prepare material for the kids, with 40-50% of them already missing. We do have an online platform, but it hasn’t been introduced properly and not all kids have the access codes now. We can only hope that they share the code among each other. I expect phone lines running hot.
On Monday we’ll have a meeting where we hopefully get some instructions. These are not holidays and of course we’re expected to do something for our money. What we can do will be seen.
Those news brought on another run on the supermarkets. Thankfully I only needed food for the weekend. OK, I admit, I stocked up on fish fingers, chocolate and coffee. Well, and crafting supplies have been ordered…
The closing of schools makes sense, ours are closed too, as well as public gatherings of more than 30 people.
I am skeptical about the efficacy of closing national borders though, once the virus has crossed them.
This was all so predictable, if perhaps difficult to believe. The authorities could have done a better job telling people early on that:
a) Yes, it will be an aggressive epidemic here, too, and it will cause major disruption and some danger to everyone’s life.
b) It will be a long-term disruption of moderate intensity, rather than a dramatic short-term crisis. No need to stock supplies at home, or panic about your safety before the epidemic even really starts. Instead, you need to practice some vigilance continuously over a long time, after the the whole thing stops being front page news.
Honestly I’m in favor of every measure that restricts the movement of people, both across national borders and between regions within each country. Is it effective at slowing down the spread of the virus? I don’t know. Will it make it spread faster? I’m sure it won’t. So, better to play it safe.
Another argument for it is that keeping borders open right now, when different European countries are at different stages of the epidemic, will only work to homogenize the spread and potentially make more countries peak simultaneously. Ideally peaks would be far enough apart that countries could help each other at the most critical moment, like China is doing with Italy. But it may be too late for that already. I’ve been talking about temporarily suspending Schengen for weeks, together with forcing everyone arriving from an affected area into quarantine like Macau did. But I guess we’ll do it sooner because of refugees than because of a pandemic.
The border to France has not been closed completely (hahaha, that’s quite often “the other side of the street”. Thank you, 60 years of peace!!!!) but there are checkpoints again and people are discouraged from crossing it. I think it’s just an easy way to say “stay where you are”, especially right in the middle of Europe.