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Back to school: Kids’ return tinged with sadness

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When Adamstown Heights mother Kate Reid bids farewell to her three daughters on Monday morning, it will be with a tinge of sadness.

After 11 weeks of home-schooling, the trio will be returning to their Kotara classrooms without her, to restart what she describes as “a whole new world”.

Kate’s three daughters Scarlett, 11, Layla, 9 and Darcey, 7, have been learning from home since the region was plunged into its second lockdown on Thursday 5 August.

It was the second time since the start of the pandemic, that the Hunter had taken a strict stance on social interaction in a bid to quell rising COVID-19 case numbers.

Although Scarlett, in Year 5, and Layla, in Year 3, blatantly felt the frustration of missing school, for Year 1 student Darcey it was becoming all too familiar.

“Darcey, my youngest, hasn’t even done a whole year of uninterrupted school yet,” Kate said.

“This is life in a pandemic I guess.”

Kate, who works part-time in administration at the University of Newcastle, admits she’s concerned the excitement of the return to the classroom might be short-lived.

With the news that schools in the region are closed for deep-cleaning after the detection of COVID-19 cases, she is all too aware this could include her children’s learning hub too.

“I’m very excited for them but I’m also a bit hesitant, a bit nervous, like most parents, about what will come in the weeks ahead.

“You want to send them back but I’m dreading that first phone call to come and pick them up because a case has been detected.

“It’ll be a bit different, and we’ll feel unsure for a while but I guess this is a whole new world for all of us.

“The girls are very excited. They’re desperate to see their friends and their teachers again, and they’re so ready to get back to school.”

And after dealing with three children, of three different ages, at three different stages of learning, for almost three months, Kate is looking forward to a break.

“I’ve been doing a lot of maths lately. I won’t miss the maths.”

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