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Worried about my high risk parents catching Covid

  • 02-09-2020 3:32pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    My mother is an assistant in a school and she is regularly in close contact with students. Many of the students in the school have profound special needs and come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Before Covid, regularly the parents would send their children to school sick and refuse to collect them if called to do so, particular parents have been known to send their children into school on staff meeting and staff course days when the children are not supposed to be in. The parents are quite feckless when it comes to their kids frankly and see the school as a babysitting service.
    Many of the children have bad hygiene at home and in school, their parents don't wash their uniforms, the kids dont wash themselves. Ive heard stories from my mother and other staff of children being sent to school having wet and pooed themselves.
    Many of the kids come into school in packed buses from other counties and areas and as most of them are special needs it's near impossible to implement social distancing between them.
    When she went back to work the school had very little in place to accommodate social distancing and sanitation. There are no screens, no floor markings, class groups are the same sizes, the only addition to the school to protect staff and students are hand sanitizers and face masks for staff.
    My mother has several illnesses which make her high risk, she was advised by her doctor not to go back to work and to sign off on sick leave but she has refused.
    My father is also high risk as he has a heart condition, both my parents are in their 60's.
    I have said it to my mother several times to take a few months of work to see how this plays out but she wont change her mind.
    Im worried sick that she will catch something, already schools across the country are reporting cases and it's not been a week since they reopened.
    I have a friend from Spain who lost both of her parents to Covid-19 some months ago and im very worried that the same will happen to my own parents.
    What can I do?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,797 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    My two went back yesterday. There has been constant contact from the school Principal over the last month where they have reinforce the hygiene aspect of things.

    The children all did a hand washing exercise yesterday. There is sanitiser in the class and they all have their own too. There is a clear road map on the return to school.

    Im sure your mother has seen this webinar, but it might help your peace of mind to watch it together and ask her what Covid procedures the school have put in place.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,563 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    To be honest I don't think there's much you can do.

    I'm sure your mum is well aware of the risks. The fact that you mention her Dr is willing to sign her off suggests she has discussed the matter with them too.

    She may "need" to work. Getting out of the house, a regular routine, social interactions etc are also very important.

    It seems she has chosen the social benefits are more important than the risks. She's an adult and perfectly within her rights to do this.

  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    There's been no screens or anything like that in our school either, there are DoE guidlines that have been implemented, but they are very different measures to what say, my office has done. I imagine every school is the same.

    The measures implemented are more to contain the outbreak to a specific small group of children rather than the whole school which is what would happen if they were all mixing in the playground.

    Unfortunately your mother is an adult and as such, can make her own decisions, however unwise they may be. You can't force her I'm afraid.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 632 ✭✭✭Sorry about that

    Your mother seems to have assessed the risk and is willing to take it, which is in her mind preferable to being out of work.

    The way you refer to the children in her care, and their parents shows that you have no concept of what it's like to have a disabled child, and are extremely judgemental. For your information, they're probably not feckless, most likely exhausted, and overwhelmed.

    While you're giving your mother health advice, can you also ask her to stop telling you stories about childrens' episodes of incontinence, because it's unprofessional and inappropriate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,495 ✭✭✭✭eviltwin

    Your mother is an adult and has made her decision and you have to respect that. I’m sure she’s doing her very best to keep herself and your dad safe. I appreciate you are worried but will you pay the bills if she stops working at your behest?

    I agree with the above poster regarding your comments about the parents and children. If they have profound special needs it’s to be expected they might have accidents or lack the ability to maintain their hygiene.

    If your anxiety about Covid is affecting your health you need to take steps to deal with it. See a GP or consider counselling. Expecting your mother to quit her job so you can relax is the height of selfishness.

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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,306 ✭✭✭bobbyy gee

    try and find her n95 masks a face shield and latex gloves.use hand sanitizer.leave windows and doors open shower every day after work
    put clothes in laundry basket.
    woman will more likely survive covid

    you can't really parent a parent

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,701 ✭✭✭Xterminator

    Hi Op

    A lot of frontline workers are parents, and a number have medial issues that out them in the high risk category. All of them have other family members, many with very high risk illnesses etc. In the case of frontline workers they are actually very likely to deal with covid cases, far more so than your average citizen. Yet they carry out their essential work despite the risk, to the benefit of the whole country.

    Now that schools have reopened, school staff have a reasonably low chance of meeting covid positive adults & children. But its a higher chance than if you stayed at home. There is a heightened risk but there is also a very high social cost if we don't give the children the education chances they deserve.

    Your mother has made her choice, based on what she considers to be her priorities, and what she perceives is the risk. I personally admire people who do this. Do you understand that this is her chosen occupation, and that she has judged the reward is worth the risk?

    You asked what you can do? Respect her decision is the 1st thing to do. Offer her any supports needed at this stressful time.

    No more than i would try to persuade an ambulance driver to take a few months off, neither would i consider it my business to tell those working in schools to f*ck society and protect themselves.

  • Registered Users Posts: 121 ✭✭openup

    If you're mother is an assistant I assume she is dealing only with a small number of children so the risk may be lower.
    Also the higher risk members of staff in my school are wearing medical grade masks and not removing them even when socially distant. Several are using them in conjunction with visors. As opposed to the rest of us who are mainly using cloth masks and removing them in socially distant settings.

  • Registered Users Posts: 930 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    What you can do is try be more realistic about the statistics and panic less as there's an *extremely* low chance they'd succumb to the virus even if they caught it.

    Mortality rate of people in their 60's is just 3%. And that's based on a percentage of those diagnosed with covid. So the likelihood is the % figure is even lower as many would have had it without being tested.

    While we all think our parents are in the vulnerable category due to illnesses or conditions they have, the reality is most people don't reach that age without some sort of medical issue and again the overwhelming majority of them are surviving covid. So you're probably being hypersensitive which while understandable it's not in line with reality.

    None of that is to say they shouldn't be cautious and follow guidelines but you cant expect them to shield their lives indefinitely from something that isnt of great risk to them.