“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” – Marcus Aurelius

Who’d be a politician during a pandemic? Whilst it isn’t a particularly fashionable view, I have the utmost admiration for anyone who chooses a political career when it is motivated by a desire to improve the lives of others. Many have pointed to the success of female leaders in this time of crisis which can only be an inspiration to our young people. When I was at school, I thought that being an MP or similar would be a fantastic job but right now I wouldn’t be rushing to stand for office, even if there was a party that I thought would accommodate my own particular blend of views. As Édouard Philippe said earlier this week, he is in a no-win situation. He oversees an economy that needs to be restarted and has responsibility for keeping citizens safe. A tough balancing act to accomplish successfully.

Thank you to all parents who completed the intentions survey. It is useful to have a guide, however vague as to the number of pupils we can anticipate joining us once school opens. Little is certain with regard to the process of reopening other than it is likely to be phased and will include regular interludes for handwashing. We are receiving advice from Éducation nationale regarding pupil safety and will not be announcing any details about resumption until after the announcements scheduled for 7th May.

Whilst I wouldn’t be a politician at present, being a parent feels similar. All families have to weigh up risk and benefit when contemplating a return to school. Same decision, different scale. Any child attending school will (almost certainly) be at greater risk of infection than a child who stays at home. As a consequence, families choosing to keep children at home will continue to be able to access remote learning materials and these materials will form the basis of our offer in school. We will operate in a very different way. Drop off will be phased or staggered. The school day may be shorter. There will be one-way routes around the school and distancing of one metre will have to be observed. We will not be playing ball games at break time and access to the school library will be severely limited. Teachers will be wearing masks and pupils will have to remain at their desks or in designated areas. Much of what we currently enjoy will be curtailed. Temperature checks will take place at points of entry and those displaying symptoms will have to return home. Most upsetting of all, I can’t promise chips on a Thursday. It looks like sandwich lunches to be eaten “al-desko”.

This is a time of mixed emotions for families. We should be prepared for turbulence in the coming weeks. Our community is a resilient one. I know that decisions are made by individual families considering the safety of others and the School will do all it can to protect those who choose to attend. These are difficult times, but we are stronger when we are together in isolation.

Have a great long weekend.

Nicholas Hammond