For some of us August is proving to be the longest month of all – all the more so for students, parents and their teachers living within the restrictions of Covid lockdowns.

While not every state is currently in lockdown, it is a revolving door. Look at New Zealand with over 170 days without a locally transmitted case. Suddenly the country finds itself in lockdown.

My heart goes out to the young people who are missing out on the interactions and events we once took for granted. Put to one side the academic implications of lockdown. Let’s consider what else is compromised.

When holidays draw to an end and children are asked what they look forward to about returning to School most of them say seeing their school friends again. Now it’s a long time since some have seen these friends. While they can talk to them online it’s different form being in the same physical space. It’s just not the same – there’s no touch, and a lack of spontaneous emotions. The evolution of friendships is thwarted by not being able to interact with different people and during random moments.

Then there’s the issue of team sport. Most children enjoy some form of team sport regardless of their ability. It’s not so much about what the outstanding athletes are losing (although they may be paying a heavy price), so much as the everyday kid who wants to throw a ball. The excitement of beating rival teams is gone.

The Sports Coach is no longer with young people at least not during lock down. The praise and encouragement from the Coach can only be imagined for the time being. Those rewarding training sessions, where children feel a proud sense of achievement is absent.
Without variations to our routine, it all becomes all a bit dull. One day rolls into another.

And to our young musicians who practise, waiting eagerly to play in front of a live audience, when will you have this opportunity again? The pleasure of playing in an orchestra, and of singing in a live group is gone – for how long we do not know. Even when school returns it will be sometime before singing in choirs is permitted.

There is the absence of the teacher physically. As much as students interact with teachers online, it is not the same as having a gentle hand being placed on one’s shoulder and being told “well done”. The encouragement and inspiration to learn stems from the interaction of students with their teachers and with other students.

To continue with the depressing situation. No more birthday parties – regardless of your age. Perhaps when restrictions are lifted then young people will be able to enjoy a postponed birthday party. But we don’t know.

For the older school students in upper high school, I think it is especially tough. There are no second chances for graduation ceremonies, valedictory dinners and School formals. It’s just one time (rite of passage) in their lives that students have these occasions.
I’m sure that there are some positives to school children being in lockdown. Not being a student in lockdown myself, it is hard to know what is gained socially, or in co-curricula activities.

There is no blame being laid. I’m simply observing what once was, which is not now, but we hope will return soon. And then lockdowns will be something of the past. It will become something young people will be able to tell their children and grandchildren about.

I guess there is one thing to be learnt from all of this. Don’t take your life for granted. Hopefully when our lives return to ones of varying activities, interesting daily routines and travel, we will understand what we have.

About the Author