In February 2020, my last year of primary school was coming to an end. My SATs were just round the corner and end-of-year school trips were in place.
Then, one day, I walked into my class, and everybody was talking about the new virus in China. I let it go over my head at first and didn’t think anything of it because I thought it wouldn’t affect us. I think I was the only person in my class not to worry about it.
But after reports of deaths started to appear in the news, it became impossible to ignore. People panicked and started raiding the shops for essentials. It was so difficult to get your hands on a packet of toilet rolls or a tin of beans. I thought this was an over-reaction – surely, they won’t going to stop us leaving our homes? However, they did (although you were allowed to leave your home for a limited time to go to the supermarket) and from March 23rd everything was closed, including schools. I started to worry now, but I didn’t think the lockdown would last for very long.
A couple of months passed and we were still in lockdown, cases were rising, and a some of my family members caught the virus. It had been a few months since they announced that we couldn’t go out and, given that people were still catching it, lockdown obviously wasn’t working. I was under the impression that keeping us indoors was going to prevent the virus from spreading. But even the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary tested positive. I wondered how they caught it if we weren’t allowed outside, unless for exercise or going to the shops. I don’t think Boris did his own shopping and, if he did exercise, then I didn’t see him doing it with anybody else. Was this a result of another ‘bring your own booze’ party at Downing Street’?
This lockdown they put us in clearly didn’t work and I don’t know how they had the audacity to tell us where we could and couldn’t go. I couldn’t see family members for months. I used to help my mum do the weekly shop for my grandma and when I dropped it off for her I couldn’t even give her a hug. I had other family members who I didn’t see properly until early last year. What an absolute joke. Weddings were held and nobody could celebrate them properly. And funerals were affected too. I honestly don’t know what they were thinking and I hope the authorities realise the many lives they have impacted and ruined.
If you didn’t think this was enough, they put us in further lockdowns and I was again forced to endure the misnamed ‘online learning’. From a child’s point of view, this type of teaching is useless; most of the links I was sent didn’t work and I kept getting kicked out of the calls (we were using Teams). This had a huge impact on my first year of secondary school and I honestly cannot remember much of what I was ‘taught’. When schools reopened, we had to stay in the same classroom with the same people throughout the day. They did this to prevent the spread of the virus, even though at lunch and break time we were allowed to socialise with our friends. It didn’t make any sense.
Looking back at this period, I just laugh and think, “What the hell?” We all listened to a group of hypocrites who couldn’t stick to their own rules. We had three lockdowns in the space of two years and – clearly – the fact that we had more than one implies they didn’t work. I hope the government will be more wary about locking us all down again.