Schools are set to reopen on March 8, many South Yorkshire parents are pleased to hear.
For some non-key worker parents from the Sheffield area, school closures have caused serious concerns for their children’s education and mental health.
35-year-old Samantha Wood from Darnall has two sons aged seven and 14, who have had to stay at home since schools closed. She said: “My 7-year-old was top of the class at maths, he was the mathematician wizard. Since been off school I can tell a huge difference in his learning.
“I don’t care what anyone says, children have to be in the classroom to learn, being at home isn’t helping them at all.”
Ms Wood said her youngest son has not played with a friend since finishing school before Christmas and feels as though this is having a huge impact on his mental health. She said she tells the boys’ teachers they are struggling and cannot engage, but they said there is nothing they can do as “their hands are tied until children can go back.”
Bryany Wright, 24, from Penistone, has two daughters who are three and four years old. Her oldest daughter, Daisy, started school last September and has been struggling with the emotional and social toll of completing school from home.
Ms Wright said: “I’m so happy to send her back, for her sake and ours. It’ll benefit her socially, but also her brain is so busy it needs the stimulation from school that I can’t give her at home.”
Being away from school has been emotionally difficult and has even affected Daisy’s sleeping habits and appetite, her mum said. She explained: “It’s been really tough for her missing out, her emotions have been all over the place, one minute hyper, next minute angry, then two minutes later she’s crying because it’s all got too much for her.
“The hardest part for her was knowing that some of her friends were still able to go to school being the children of key workers”, she said.
Rachel Louise Ken, 35, has three children and is currently studying for her masters degree in paramedicine, alongside working full time for the NHS. Rachel is not eligible to use childcare as her partner is not a key worker.
Ms Ken said juggling her work, studies and having three children at home has been too much. She said: “Between home schooling, travelling two hours for practical studies, assignments, working nights, and general living, I’m ready for them to go back.”