I’ve been busy the last couple of days, and will be for the foreseeable future, since my girlfriend and I have taken our two young children out of school.
I have informed my parent friends of this decision, but I am not advocating that they, or anyone, follow our lead. My girlfriend and I are lucky in that we are financially secure (for now), and are currently freer of work than we might otherwise be.* It is easy for us to bring the kids home, and we could see no good argument against it. Other parents are much less fortunate, and may have a very difficult decision ahead, very soon. I really feel for them, and for everyone dealing with this mess.
This brings up a general and hugely important question: should schools stay open? Honestly, I have no idea. It is an aspect of Australian discussion that I have been trying, and failing, to get my head around. It seems that the main argument for keeping schools open is simply as a childminding service, so that the oldies don’t do the minding and the doctors and the nurses can get on with running themselves ragged. Is that a sufficient argument? I’m sceptical, but I don’t feel confident to say “no”.
Here are two links to articles discussing the matter (in Australia), neither of which I either vouch for or reject:
Why Australia is not shutting schools (The Guardian)
No, Australia is not putting teachers in the coronavirus firing line (The Conversation)
I’m open to people’s thoughts. But, I’ll just add one thing. Prime Scott Morrison has threatened private schools that might close, and he has expressed his confidence in the decision to keep kids at school:
I’m telling you that, as a father, I’m happy for my kids to go to school. There’s only one reason your kids shouldn’t be going to school and that is if they are unwell.
I wonder if all of Morrison’s Liberal colleagues agree.