Children need their out-of-school activities

I FELT the need to write this letter due to the announcement by the States of Guernsey about how they will deal with Covid outbreaks in schools. The last 18 months have been difficult for us all, and whilst I haven’t agreed with all of the decisions made by the CCA, I have gone along with it and trusted what they have decided.

Then things changed for me. As a parent of two children the announcement has made me just feel sad for all children in Guernsey.

There will be mixed opinions about whether 10 days of lateral flow tests for ‘contact traced’ school children is sensible or overkill, but either way I can live with that decision if it allows the children to still go to school and learn.

What concerns me, and what has made me write this letter, is that for 10 days after contact tracing the children are not allowed to do activities / clubs / sports outside school. Then at the end of that 10 days, if they are contact traced again, the whole process starts again.

Children are like sponges and they don’t just learn at school, they learn through the activities that they join in during their young lives. Some children live to go to school, but other children live for the activities that they do outside school. For some children they need their outside of school activities for their physical and mental wellbeing. They have already missed so much of this due to lockdowns and Covid restrictions and now we are taking this away from them again.

Children don’t have the choice of immunisation, so they see adults going about their daily lives quite happily, while they are made to miss out on the things that they love. We are creating a generation of anxious, unfulfilled, depressed children.

I beg the States to rethink their decision and let children go to activities outside school if contact traced. The risk is already being mitigated as the children will be doing lateral flow tests every day. I beg the States to think back to when they were children and what they enjoyed doing and the activities that have made them into the people that they are today. I beg the States to let our children be children – not lock them away from the things that they love.

I want to see that happy glow of my children as they play their sports and their shine as they dance on a stage.

I don’t want to see them cry again as they are told that they aren’t allowed to do the things that they love.


Editor’s footnote: Public Health yesterday changed its stance on this issue and students who are identified as contacts of a positive case are now able to attend all in and out-of-school activities, including sports, during the 10 days they are taking daily lateral flow tests.

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