Looking for advice and opinions,

Hello. I have been caring part time for my mum since December 2019. She is 87 and has just been diagnosed with dementia. I enjoy looking after her and I get the help of a paid carer for 1 hour everyday. She is still independent and able to look after herself but with increasing difficulty, especially with her mobility. She is particularly prone to falling over and the last one ended up with her in hospital with a hip fracture.

I do enjoy looking after her as I am able to take her out and cook for her and generally keep her company but the time has come for me to think about returning to work. I have secured a part time teaching job (3 days a week) following an interview in March which will allow me to continue caring for mum for the remainder of the week.

At the time I thought we’d have this Covid outbreak under control, and to some extent, we do, but I am very worried about bringing the virus back to mum. The school have done their best to make the school Covid secure and have tried to reassure me, but 20-30 pupils stuck in rooms all day with teachers moving to them is quite high risk in my opinion. If you were in my position what would you do? I don’t have to work as a teacher, I’m happy to do any part time work but finding a job hasn’t been easy.

You need to keep your teaching skills up to date, you must put this before anything else, because mum at best only has a few years left, you may have 30 or 40 years left, and you need to make yourself as financially secure as you can.
Watching TV, it seems schools are being very careful, I doubt that you are going to be at any more risk in school than anywhere else in the community.
I’d suggest mum has extra care so that you don’t have to do lots when you get home.

I know of a few people who who work and also have a vulnerable caree at home.

A couple of them have got into the habit of immediately having a shower and changing their clothes (which go straight in the washing machine) as soon as they get home (and before greeting the one they care for) to minimise the risk of bringing anything in with them.

I think if you follow the guidelines re masks and sanitising/hand washing during your work day and maybe instigate a similar regime as above then you will greatly minimise any risk. As BB has said above you need to keep up your teaching skills; they will stand you in good stead and ensure that you will be able to find employment in the future - there will always be a need for good teachers.

Hi Brian,
as the virus is still out there, there is an element of risk whenever we step outside of our homes and indeed when folk enter our houses.

Therefore it is what you do to minimise the risk that counts. I agree with Susie re the whole shower and change your clothes routine before greeting your Mum. Also wipe down any door handles you have touched on route to be double cautious.

In school observe the stay at the front rule - school should have demarcated a line the children should not cross and if you do have to approach a pupil to help them, then put on a mask. Keep the windows open. Wipe down the desk etc that you will be sat at and take extra care if you manage to grab a coffee break/ lunch break. The advice to schools is that homework should be set online. Remind the pupils about their part in keeping everyone safe with good hygiene etc.

If you are really worried, you could look for homebased work, but part time teaching jobs aren’t as readily advertised as full time and you might regret giving it up.