Health worker left in tears by agonising dilemma
A DISTRAUGHT health worker has spoken about her inner-turmoil and guilt at having to send her two children to school to serve on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Walking out of the school gates I burst into tears, I waited until I had dropped them off because I didn't want them to see me upset," she told the Bulletin.
"Both of my kids had five kids in their class, including themselves. My son only had girls in his class. There was hardly anyone there at pick-up.
"My daughter came home on Wednesday and told me there was a little girl who she doesn't usually play with telling her that if she didn't go into the out-of-bounds area, she was going to tell the principal.
"None of her friends are at school so she has no allies and it's heartbreaking for me to leave them there every single day. She's nearly in tears every single night saying she's excluded."
The mother of two said she felt completely torn to do her duty and the job she was trained to do.
"But I'm a mother and that trumps everything. It's so hard for my kids, they are seeing all the kids play computer games at home all day and they have to go to school.
"There's also so much pressure from everyone to keep kids at home but the plain truth of it is some of us just can't even if my urge is to keep them at home. It just sucks sometimes.
"I'm more worried about their ongoing mental and emotional wellbeing because this is going to go on for months."
Yesterday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Gold Coast schools would be student-free from Monday, as the state's education system continues to work to limit the spread of coronavirus.
She said schools would still be open for the children of frontline workers, that is workers who are required in their workplace. Early childhood education centres and outside hours school care providers would continue as normal.
A preschool teacher revealed some Gold Coast long daycare services were accepting school aged children, similar to a vacation care service.
"This would defeat the purpose of schools shutting down and then put younger children and babies at further risk - not to mention the staff as well," she said.
"Childcare services are unable to enforce social distancing when running at full capacity or close to. The rooms are structured as an under one roof setting so that they can squeeze a big number of children into each room.
"I have a child in care as well and there's no social distancing being enforced because it is literally impossible. Staff are nervous for their own health and wellbeing but also nervous about not having a job.
"We're relying on all parents in every service to be completely upfront and honest regarding their health and their whereabouts in order to know that we are then safe to go home to our families at night and that is terrifying."
Education Minister Grace Grace said teachers, teacher aides and staff would use the reduced attendance at schools to prepare for a potential move to students learning from home.
"Currently we have two weeks' worth of learning available to students to use at home and that will be constantly updated for as long as necessary," she said.
Pacific Pines High School told essential workers if "you wish to send your child to school to be supervised next week" they must not be displaying signs of illness. Students won't be in their regular classes nor will any regular class work be taught.
Originally published as Health worker left in tears by agonising dilemma