Yesterday, 5th March, marked exactly one year since the boys’ last day of normal school and our last day of life as it used to be, in ‘before times’. A life before COVID tore through our collective existence like a hurricane, leaving devastation in its wake. As so many did, the boys came home from school that day expecting to be back in after two weeks. I don’t think any of us would have believed what lay ahead then if we’d been told, would we?
In the last year, we’ve completed 15 weeks of online school in Dubai – which included finishing primary school for little Mr Palmtrees, missing out on so many rites of passage, and with both boys losing the chance to say their goodbyes – we’ve relocated to Malaysia, started a new school and then, after just 5 full weeks, we locked down into more online learning. Attendance at physical school stopped in mid-October last year, and although we had one day of physical school in January, on a first-day-of-term false start before the government announced a further lockdown, online learning has rolled on relentlessly, bringing us all the way to this unexpected anniversary.
Five weeks of physical school in twelve months. Yes, you did read that right.
However, things are looking up, because international schools in KL are returning to in-person learning from Monday. For the boys, it feels like being new all over again, and those first-day feelings are kicking in, but I know it will be wonderful for all the kids to get back to school, even with masks, distancing, Perspex screens, et al.
All of our kids are all absolute heroes for what they’ve been through over the past year, diligently getting on with their education whilst missing friends, family, and activities; feeling isolated; and experiencing all of the same anxiety and uncertainty that we, as adults, have faced. So, this weekend, we are looking ahead to brighter days; it won’t all be sunshine and rainbows, but it’s a start.