It’s now been nearly three months of lockdown in the UK and we are still living through the most extraordinary times.
Though as restrictions are being relaxed, at different rates in the four nations of the UK, the sense of confusion is growing and not easing.
The government’s own scientific advisors claim that decisions are being made for political and not scientific reasons; people who were meant to be shielding are now allowed to go out and some schools in England opened this week, with some year groups returning to lessons, but some parents keeping their children at home.
Confusion reigns. And with it anxiety and worries grow, not ease.
A recent UNISON survey found that three in 10 school support staff are losing sleep, suffering high anxiety or both as a result of schools reopening in England.
Support staff are essential to schools running properly and they, like all public service workers, shouldn’t have to feel scared about doing their jobs. This anxiety is widespread across our service groups, across all regions and throughout the UK.
We look at other countries and how they are coming out of lockdown and we question whether our government is still following the science, still doing its best to avoid a second peak, still doing its best by the people it publicly applauds for getting us through the crisis.
Or has it already reverted to type, with politics and spin replacing protection and guidance?
The relaxation of restrictions is arguably a more critical time than when lockdown was fully in place. We need strong leadership from this government now and we are all being badly let down.
But I can reassure you that, as ever, your union will continue to fill this vacuum for our members. We will be there now, just as we have been since the lockdown started.
We are continuing to provide thorough and detailed practical advice and support to all our members, whether it’s on risk assessments and health and safety advice on returning to work, pay for carers if they have to self-isolate, changes to the furlough scheme, or support through There for You grants.
We will carry on doing this – being there for our members – as we have throughout this crisis as they need us as much now as they ever have.
And rest assured, we will carry on making sure the voices of our members are still heard by this government, however long the restrictions continue, in whatever form and far beyond that.
As ever, thank you for all you continue to do for our union.