Lockdown Extended

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I know it was needed, I know that we are being safe staying at home, BUT it is very sad that this lockdown has happened at the start of the school holidays and will be for the whole duration as well!

We didn’t have grand plans but did think that we might be able to take the kids to the movies, mini-golf, go to a cafe or restaurant with the family and maybe visit some friends. However this never happened, we stayed at home and watched movies, played games and watched the youngest learn to ride his bike without training wheels.

I even have a new car (well secondhand but low km and hardly driven) that I was keen to take the kids out in, however, it has sat in the driveway other than trips to the supermarket to get food for the family. I suppose the lack of outings has saved us money but it would have been nice to have had the experiences, but these will have to wait for later.

As I write this it is the Sunday before school is meant to start again, yes Tuesday is the start of term 3 here in New South Wales and as lockdown has been extended all kids that in the lockdown zones will be learning online.

Hours after the NSW Department of Education announced that schools will be preparing for home learning, they were hit with a cyber attack. Yes, talk about horrible. All the teachers need to access the Google Classroom portal for their school to plan the content for the kids that will be learning from home.

Google Classroom unavailable – Now fixed and ready for term 3

“The timing of this creates considerable challenges for staff as we prepare for the start of Term 3,” she said in a statement. An education department source familiar with the attack said that, in line with security advice, the outage was initially reported as scheduled maintenance.
“Thankfully, our teams have been able to isolate the issues and we are working to reactivate services as soon as possible.” https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/nsw-education-department-hit-by-cyber-attack-hours-after-remote-learning-announcement-20210708-p587z7.html)

I just checked with my girls and they are now able to access their Google Classroom. Hopefully, this continues and is all good for the start of term 3. It would have made it so much worse to not be able to access their online learning portal.

Overnight we have had 77 cases, 55 known sources and 22 from unknown sources. We are lucky that where we are there are no infections, however, due to be grouped as Greater Sydney we are still in lockdown too.

I was meant to be at the Fresh Content Awards Night on the 21st of July, however, this has now been postponed till the 8th of September. I’m now worried that if the numbers don’t go down, the event in September might be postponed yet again or may be cancelled. I do hope that the event happens as I am so excited about being nominated and going to the awards night.

We were also set to see a short film the twins were involved in but the screening has been postponed until the lockdown is over. Currently, the organisers don’t want to set a date to cancel it again and are waiting until the lockdown is over. I was very keen to see the finished film and celebrate with everyone, but we will have to wait.

You would have thought that employers would be more compassionate due to lockdowns and also having kids at home. Bayside Council, in Sydney’s south-east, made employees fill out forms stating that they would not be looking after children under the age of 7 years while they are working from home.

Geez, how about really penalising families for having children?

Make it even tougher due to the sanctioned lockdown orders that are out of our control that dictates that everyone needs to stay home and kids are only able to go to school if their parents are essential workers. I would say that being a council worker is not considered essential, and therefore many would indeed have kids at home.

Working from home during the lockdown

The juggle is hard and stressful, but as we are in crisis with the new delta strain I would have thought that Bayside Council would more compassionate to their employee’s needs and help them more.

“A staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity described the council’s approach as “messy, unfair and unclear”. “It clearly shows an absolute disregard … for the health and wellbeing of employees, their families and the community,” the employee said. (https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/a-work-space-is-a-work-space-council-banned-staff-supervising-kids-while-working-from-home-20210708-p587vo.html)

Bayside Council said that staff can take annual leave to accommodate this time with kids learning from home. Personally, I think this is a shit offer and a horrible way to support their staff. Some people might not want to take leave or might not have available leave to take. Also what if the extra week lockdown extends for another 2 or more weeks? At this point with the number of infections are increasing, so a longer lockdown is a real possibility.

Lockdown could possibly extend to August and if that happens how much leave will you have to take from your job to accommodate homeschooling? Also how many staff would have to take leave? Will this be focused on the female staff members as they seem to shoulder most of the childcare?

Many are working remotely or not working at all due to being stuck at home while we wait for the numbers to go down. All companies and businesses need to be more supportive of their staff during these times and asking them to sign stupid forms getting them to agree that they will not be the sole caretaker of a child under 7 is bullshit in my book.

Currently, we have been given no choice to have kids at home while we work there too, It is not the employee’s fault for being put in this position and therefore should not have to sign paperwork to prove that they will not be a parent to their child in a time of need.

The below excerpt has been taken from the Grattan Website

“Australian women copped a triple-whammy:

  • they lost more jobs than men – almost 8 per cent at the peak of the crisis, compared to 4 per cent for men;
  • they shouldered more of the increase in unpaid work – including supervising children learning remotely – taking on an extra hour each day more than men, on top of their existing heavier load; and
  • they were less likely to get government support – JobKeeper excluded short-term casuals, who in the hardest-hit industries are mostly women.”

As homeschooling is set to commence on Tuesday I am not really looking forward to it. In 2020 we had about 4 months of homeschooling and it was rather painful as kids were not doing the work they were supposed to, and on top of that, the 4-year-old at the time thought it was playtime and would not let the older kids do their work. Flash forward to 2021, the 4-year-old is now a 5-year-old and in Kindergarten and the twins are now high school kids. It will be so interesting to see what a Kindy kid gets for school work. I do hope that all work well at home to get all their school work done and the arguments are kept to a minimum.

I am also amazed that many are breaching the lockdown orders. There has been a group that celebrated an 18th birthday party, a group of 15 men meeting to have a card game and many that are out in big groups and not following the restrictions.

I feel sad that many are doing the right thing and a small group is ignoring the rules. If we all stay home and the numbers go down, and the lockdown ends!

If you are in the lockdown too, what have you been doing to keep kids and yourself entertained? I spent the day yesterday cleaning the twin’s room, the outcome was good but the time doing it was painful.

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