It’s dizzying, the information coming at parents right now. Since COVID hit, things have changed rapidly on a regular basis. We’re always learning new things about the virus, which is important and good, but we’re also getting many mixed messages.
The federal government has its own set of guidelines, the provincial, another. Schools have another set of rules for parents to follow. In fact, my kids’ school felt it was necessary to hold a zoom meeting with a lengthy PowerPoint presentation just to go over the rules, and I’m thankful they did. My daughters’ dance school has one set of rules, and their hockey league another.
The only thing that’s consistent, is that none of the rules are the same.
For some, a runny nose is okay after 24 hours. For others, you must stay away if anyone in your house has had a runny nose in the last two weeks. 10 days of isolation is now okay if you have two symptoms, but 14 days is required elsewhere. You have to wear a mask indoors, but not when you’re engaging in physical activity. But, no wait, the mask now has to stay on during the physical activity. Parents can’t come in to watch. But we’ll allow only 5 parents if they wear masks and distance. You can’t go back to school without a negative COVID test, but you have to wait 7-10 days for results from that test. And then make sure they have no symptoms.
Meanwhile, I’m over here pumping my kids full of water and vitamins and pushing their bedtime back because I’m living in fear of them getting a sniffle. Not because I’m terrified of the virus, but because I don’t know what to do if they get sick.
Stay home, yes. But for how long? Once they have no symptoms? Once they get a negative test? After 10 days? Or 14? They can go to school, but they can’t play hockey. They can dance, but they can’t go to school. Thanksgiving is okay if it’s outside, but actually, no – you shouldn’t be gathering with anyone.
It’s so confusing that I’m worried about the outcome. Parents are going to throw their hands up and start sending their kids to school and activities whether they have a stuffy nose or a cough or not. They’re going to think they had the rules straight, only to find out they’ve changed.
Everything has sucked since this started, that much is obvious. The world feels like a dumpster fire that just can’t get worse. And parents are expected to make the choice between sending their kids out into the middle of it to protect their mental health and give them what they need, or keep them at home in a bubble to protect their health.
There has been judging among parents, and angry people all over social media. There has been negativity and hate, all likely coming from a place of fear. And now, I suspect there will be more of it because of the confusion.
So, what’s the answer? I have no idea. Nobody has gone through this in my lifetime, so obviously we’re all scrambling to do our best. But I do know that we need help. This temporary situation is showing no signs of letting up and it’s taking a toll on parents in new ways every day. How much longer can we go on like this, confused and concerned with no clear solution?
Maybe we all need to determine what our comfort level is. In the spring, we were sheltering in place to avoid rising cases so we didn’t overwhelm hospitals. Now, what are we trying to do? Are we waiting for the virus to disappear completely before we can fully go back out into life? Are we waiting for a vaccine? What is the ‘magic number’ of cases that we’re all going to be okay with?
When we get some clarity, maybe then we’ll be able to move forward. But for now, parents are stuck in a hard place and it’s only going to get more confusing.