My last blog piece was just as the schools were shut prematurely before the Easter holidays. That feels like ages ago now and the situation no longer feels strange; this is now normal, there are routines and adjustments and we have all just got on with it. It has been interesting to see how each child has dealt with the changes – the eldest has always struggled with school and friendships so the lock down was a dream come true for him. His desire to work has not increased however and he needs a lot of support but it gets done with good marks and surprisingly, a friendship is deepening through online gaming which before was fraught in person. The middle child has turned night into day but diligently completes all work without question. Friendships are maintained through use of mobile phones and she has discovered the delights of Twitter and how it can help sate her thirst for knowledge. The youngest is as always just herself, desperately missing her friends and her sport, doing as little academically as she can get away with but is more eager to play games or help in the garden. Bird watching has been a new found interest and we’ve had a lot of fun working through the activities in a book that I had as a child that are as far removed from the pastimes of today as possible but have been deemed “quite good fun”. Not being able to go and see their friends has been accepted easily due to the use of technology. Between phone calls, texting, social media and video calling there has been no need to be in physical contact with anyone and you can’t help but think that adults everywhere should be employing more use of this technology instead of visiting relatives in person just to see how they are doing.
In the weeks that have gone past, the teachers have been exceptional. Always available and ensuring that the pupils know how to contact them, setting work and then marking it, preparing lessons and video tutorials, finding fun activities for them to undertake as well as the course work and still trying to arrange timetables and forward plan for the future as well as volunteering in the childcare hubs. And always ending their messages – stay safe, take care, look after yourself.
As Nicola Sturgeon launched her National Conversation about where we go from here and how the future may look, education is just one of the things that will not go back to how we knew it. The 6 steps on suppressing, caring, supporting, recovering, protecting and renewing are the fundamental principles of a nurturing society and underpins the beliefs of a progressive civic government that we enjoy here. Every member of Scottish society no matter their age or status is afforded the same dignity and justice and furthermore their views and ideas are listened to and acted upon.
Continued social distancing hygiene, health surveillance and investigation will have to continue indefinitely if we are to have any semblance of business and industry returning to viable working conditions. Many occupations will continue as they are now whether working from remote working or redeployment into an alternative provision and sometimes you will wonder why these were not always undertaken in that way. There is a point of view that the greener, simpler and more peaceful way of living – the Nordic model – will be achieved easily as lifestyle choices change and opportunities evolve. From a work mentality that has for so long impacted negatively on mental health, will come a more harmonious way of living with environmental benefits and innate optimism.
Some experts moot the possibility of opening up some areas of the country before others but this risks the virus moving from one area to another more rapidly. This is of course always possible just now anyway through distribution but with the stringent controls currently in place, the risk is negligible. With unhindered, uncontrolled migration risks will naturally be taken and the window of opportunity for the virus to take a foothold again, opens up unadulterated. Human nature being what it is, it is natural to flee what you fear as we see around the country with people escaping to second homes and the controls that are in place just now are sadly needed for the protection of all.
The Scottish government has been at the forefront of changes as to how we live our life earlier than Westminster e.g mass gatherings, school closures and face coverings to opportunities for residents such as accessing free Open University courses for skillset improvement and diversification as well as having a positive impact on mental health. The wellbeing of the Scottish people is paramount in the living conditions being endured during the pandemic and the government will quite rightly be lauded for their people before profit decisions. Once again, Scotland is shown to be an ambitious progressive and open country and I am grateful to be here.