Most of my friends throughout several countries in Europe have it too: the closing of schools due to COVID.
This is what the government here in Poland states:
School closed, right to education taken away, the world remains silent 2

Remote learning, it seems to be a blessing to governments. But as for it being proper education… It really depends on who you are.

Let’s take a quick look into my life. I’m 15 years old at this moment and have 3 younger siblings.
My youngest sibling is my 8 year old little brother, Aleks, he has ADHD and a disorder in the autism spectrum. After that is my 11 year old little sister, Kasia, who also has a disorder in the autism spectrum. And that leaves my 12 year old little brother, Anton who yet again has a disorder in the autism spectrum but also an intellectual disability.
Remote learning isn’t that bad to all of us. Anton is used to home-schooling and didn’t really like normal school to begin with, hence he doesn’t have any problem doing remote learning. To him it is an improvement.
Also for Kasia it is an improvement as she didn’t really like social contact to begin with. Our family and 2 friends at school is all she really needs – it’s how she feels the most happy.

As for Aleks, it’s a whole different story. He really dislikes school. While walking and taking the tram to school, I have to keep holding his hand constantly as otherwise he could actually run off back home. Only once we reach school he settles down and I can leave him with his form teacher. And once school is over, he is undeniably overexcited to “finally go home again”.
Remote learning doesn’t change this situation, only worsens it to the extremes. As there’s no teacher physically to keep him doing what he should. So he just runs off and keep me away from my remote learning. To the point that my form teacher gave me off from school during the whole time remote learning is ongoing as someone needs to look over Aleks…

Yes, it literally means that I have no school and no education when our government decides we need to switch to remote learning. And I am not saying that education in school is that good…

But it is at least better than nothing. And do not get me wrong, I love my siblings, Aleks included. He is a great little brother, just not when it comes to school. He does understand the troubles he causes me by his behaviour. It is why he actually hugged me in the middle of school last week when I almost couldn’t take it anymore. And we do spend a lot of time together outside of school time. He’s well-behaved most of the time. Like how yesterday we went to store to get some bread and he kept my hand all the time and politely said “thank you” to girl at the counter when she complimented him. Yes, he is different and doesn’t understand most social cues. But that doesn’t change he is my amazing little brother – I love him unconditionally.

The problem is not him. And it’s neither my parents. It’s not their fault that the governments close schools but still don’t force companies to actually keep their employees at home. But it is not new that governments care more about welfare than well-being. If they did care, we would have an unconditional basic income for all people. This way we could have a functional society where stay-at-home moms and dads are possible and children all have proper upbringings. But that is just my vision of life… Why break the cycle of this broken society when we can just keep on complaining and not change anything, similarly as we have done for hundreds of years…?

And all I am saying doesn’t mean that I think there are no measures against COVID needed. I do understand that they are needed. I am in the high-risk group myself as you could have known if you read previously my post called ” Not More, Not Less, Just You.” in which I state I have cystic fibrosis. More than anything I would prefer to have a COVID-free world. But at the same time I do have to admit that these measures are mostly ineffective. The needed measures are not taken as the economy might crumble when we do so. As the closing of borders is the obvious step to take at this moment. Even though the virus might not be stopped by borders, the people spreading it would be. The first variant spread worldwide because countries brought back their people from China regardless of the danger. And similar things happened with at least the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Lambda, Mu and Omicron variants. Although, I do have to admit, why people are not warned to keep distances from animals is a mystery to me, seeing as even governmental pages confirm that animals like cats and dogs spread COVID… So, urrr… I wonder if I am really the one needing school in the first place…

But what I am saying is that it makes no sense for the schools to be closed. At least, it wouldn’t have been needed if the schooling wasn’t stuck in time for hundreds of years already.

As the reality is that not every child is the same. There are some who learn best in classes. There are those who best learn through remote and online learning. There are those who learn best through home-schooling. There are those who learn best through 1-on-1 education. There are those who learn best through practice. And there are even those who learn best in ways that even I don’t know about. The problem is that usually there’s only a focus on the 1-size-fits-all mentality of schooling in way too big classes. Like some might not even know that in the Netherlands and Germany, countries often said to be so great at education, home-schooling is forbidden by law. Which makes it even more ridiculous that these are 2 of the countries that announced to be returning to remote learning. Am I missing something or is remote learning a form of home-schooling…?

We wouldn’t need to closing of schools if the system was focused on education and not schooling – if it was about the student and not just welfare. As let’s be real, school is often much more a day-care than an institution of education. As what I say today, I didn’t learn through school. What I say today, I learned through thinking for myself. Because that’s the worst part of school that I had yet to name, the fact that school teaches you to not think for yourself but to follow the rules set by others. The world of followers we have today is made by the schooling system.
If we would give parents and children the option clearly of things like remote schooling, there would be those who would accept. The problem right now is that this is not seen as an acceptable first choice of schooling in most countries, only something for special occasions. Spread children more across the education options and we wouldn’t have needed the closing of schools to begin with. But more than just that, there wouldn’t be those like myself who have been taken away their human right of education. As let’s be clear that it’s article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 28 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and article 14 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Which all seem to have been thrown overboard now COVID is plaguing our world. No outcry, just acceptance of school being locked and children being left without education. As while I can only share my only story, I have heard the same of numerous others. Children and young persons who would love to learn but who are denied their educations by governments closing schools and not offering anything decent for all instead of it. As remote learning is great if this would be a 1-size-fits-all solution but it is not. It is probably easy if you’re a single child with just your parents. But if you have siblings and you’re the oldest brother or sister, you are more than likely the one who needs to take care of your younger siblings right now. As your parents still need to work, this doesn’t just change. And just like parents cannot do both work and taking care of their children at the same time, so can’t a sibling take care of his sibling(s) and follow school at the same time.

I don’t know what more I could say. Nor actually how I properly should finish this blog post. Maybe this is an easy way to make clear that we need our education?
The fact I do wish to remind people of is that children and young persons aren’t those most affected by COVID. We spread and get ill but usually way less severely. And it is honestly a question how much closing schools will factually matter. The only measure that we do know for sure would have huge impact is closing the borders as it would make it harder for the new variants to spread as broadly as currently happens. When our lives get impacted in the way it has – it only seems fair for adults to be impacted in a similar way… But the world kind of shows that fairness to children doesn’t exist. Let’s hope the call of UNICEF is justified…