As the intensity of the spread of the COVID-19 virus ramps up across the UK and most of the world the government advice has enabled schools to take the decision to close for now. We understand this is primarily precautionary but is also a reaction to the fact, in my children's schools anyway, that the teaching staff are either at risk or showing some symptoms and are having to self-isolate for at least 14 days.
At Tech4Parents we see this measure as the ultimate tipping point. For the past few weeks we've been hearing stories of offices trialling mass working from home to see how that might affect their networks, productivity etc.
But once you close the schools you introduce another layer of issues for the population as a whole. Those without children can still work from home or go to their place of work if it's required.
Those with younger children who are below, on or close to the poverty line will almost certainly have to take time off work to look after their children reverting to the statutory sick pay which is a £94.25 a week. Now if that's only for two to four weeks they may be able to get by with a bit scrimping and savings.
But if that's for any length of time the amount, which is about £400 a month, is probably not going to be able cover their rates, rents and utility bills as well as food.
For parents whose children are in nursery schools or primary schools who also have to work Now it's going to be 4 to take time off to look after their children who knows well that might affect their long term career the company they used to work for with a slim business when they come back .
Regardless of your own situation what's clear to us at Tech4Parents is that children cannot be left for hours upon hours upon hours on screen after screen after screen. Parents will need to take advice from government and schools. Some schools will be able to educate the children online by sending them homework and projects to do and to assess their achievements online through video sharing or through pictures.
This could be an incredibly valuable time for parents and children to rediscover their bonds or create new ones together. Parents could make up quizzes, watch documentaries or spend time in the garden with their children.
Children could teach their parents a thing or two about technology and social media.
Let’s just hope the short, medium and long term impacts of this pandemic inform our plans for the future of the planet and the protection of its fragile ecosystems and population.