Better safe than sorry – twice weekly self-testing for staff

Just a personal blog post today, as I haven’t written anything non-writing related in a while and, of course, many other things have been on my mind. This week the main change to my 3 month lockdown routine is that I’ve been back to work. As I’ve mentioned in many previous posts, I work in a secondary school as my main full-time job. GCSE and A-level pupils (16-18 year old students, for those reading outside the UK) have been back into school since Monday, and as I work with Year 12, I’ve been back in class. So no more Zoom and Collaborate lessons; back to face-to-face learning. As part of the steps to contain coronavirus, all staff and pupils can avail of voluntary lateral flow testing. Since my attitude is better safe than sorry, I’m taking part in the twice weekly self-testing with a home pack as in the photo.

A conversation I had with friends at work has been on my mind. I wonder if we will ever get to the stage where we can look back at 2020 and 2021 and reflect on how these years in isolation become known as the ‘pandemic years’, much like the 1918 flu. Or rather than becoming resigned to history as a strange period in time once contained, will Covid-19 roll on as a seasonal illness like the common cold, or flu and we find ourselves at risk every year? Wearing face masks, hand washing, using sanitising gel and social distancing have become so commonplace now that I wonder if this will be the new normal permanently? It’s hard to imagine society having to shut down on mini-lockdowns every winter, say, but could that become the way forward? It paints a bleak picture for sure, but if it saves lives then it’s worth it.

On a related literary note, I downloaded Diary of a Plague Year by Daniel Defoe on my Kindle, though I admit it is a bit too close to home for me to comfortably read at the moment. I’ve been reading mainly psychological thrillers and supernatural horror at the minute as I’m enjoying escapism, as many are, I’d say. Reality is grim enough for the present time, though thankfully the death toll in Northern Ireland has been at zero for the past few days, giving us all a bit of much-needed hope. Lucinda Berry, Frieda McFadden and Miranda Rijks have been a few authors keeping me sane during these trying times!

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019. Leilanie has also published four poetry collections: Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015); Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their rambunctious toddler, a voracious reader of dinosaur board books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

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