As lockdown measures start to ease across the U.K., sending children back to school has become a controversial topic among parents.

Many people see opening schools, with appropriate safety measures in place, as an opportunity to introduce some normality back into their children’s lives.

In a recent poll by The Linc, more than half of parents were unsure or unhappy about their children returning to school.

Some even refused to send their children back in September, despite fines that will be introduced by the government for doing so.

Others were critical of the mandatory return, with some telling The Linc that it should be up to parents to decide.

Among them, Toni Small, whose child has a weak immune system.

“I feel she will be quite vulnerable,” she said, “I really don’t like the idea of her being around so many people.”

Teachers also expressed concerns about schools reopening, stressing that social distancing is likely to be an issue.

Gail Sutor, a parent and teacher, expressed concerns about a lack of social distancing measures in schools.

“As a teacher myself, I worry that schools are not equipped to have the same safety protocols as other workplaces,” she said.

Another teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I know for a fact there isn’t enough room for pupils to social distance in classrooms and we have been told not to wear masks. I really don’t want to go back myself. I’m worried for everyone’s safety.

While some parents want the return to normality reopening schools will bring, others are concerned about the safety risks.

However, some parents were pleased about their children returning, holding optimistic attitudes about the ongoing pandemic.

One such parent, Louise Bee, argued that society should try to safely continue on, as normally as possible.

“Coronavirus is here to stay. We cannot put life on hold as it’s wasting the time we have. Everyone needs to carry on but with the best safety we can,” she said.

Another parent, Nathan Wilson, said that he was okay with sending his children back to primary school, as he feels satisfied with the safety measures put in place.

Many people see opening schools, with appropriate safety measures in place, as an opportunity to introduce some normality back into their children’s lives.

However, for some, the debate surrounding reopening schools is a luxury they can’t afford.

“Our child has been back at nursery since the end of June,” said Amee Ane, who is a key worker, along with her husband.

“I have concerns over class sizes, as there will be thirty in a class, and how they will manage infection control is yet to be explained but, as we are both key workers, we don’t really have a choice.

“I am scared she will get ill or one of us will,” Ms Ane said, describing the worst case scenario as passing the virus on to someone else.

Lincolnshire has so far had a low number of confirmed cases, but a recent outbreak at the nearby Bakkavor Deserts factory in Newark led to the city of Lincoln being temporarily placed on a ‘red list’, marking it as an area of risk.

Though it has since been removed from the list, tensions remain high as the county heads into the colder months with uncertainty.

By Emily Burton

News Editor at The Linc.