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Would You Risk It?

Alan Smith
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One of the many things that COVID has exposed dramatically is the attitude we all have for taking risks.

Risk has always been a shifting and ever-present aspect of life and something that we all come into contact with at some point. From the (mis)adventures we have as kids to the decisions we make as adults, our attitude towards risk is a fundamental part of who we are.

I have to admit a bit of a mixed outlook personally to jeopardy as you might expect for someone who enjoys mountain climbing, has set up a couple of businesses with the family home as collateral but latterly has taken to checking my pension pot regularly and avoiding eating sausages (processed food, very bad for the heart).

The subject of risk has become something of a constant discussion in my house as my wife, who is a primary school teacher, is starting to ready herself for the new term, and the onslaught of the snotty 7-year olds. Crowding around her desk, fingers up noses, social distancing with that lot is not going to happen. 

She is also someone who had been forced to shield during the worst of the lockdown, as a result of having her spleen removed as a teenager. She had Hodgkinson’s Disease, essentially cancer of the lymphatic system. Fabulously over 40 years ago now and is a picture of good health.

Her attitude to going back into the classroom, like 27% of all teachers recently surveyed by the teacher’s union, is ambivalent at best. Hostile at worst. 

The powers that be are suggesting that children are at greater risk of harm from a car accident on the way to school than falling ill from COVID. At least according to England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Harries. Attempting to reassure parents in England it was safe to send their children back to school in September, Dr Harries said the health risks to pupils from COVID 19 were “exceptionally small”.

Even if that is true, what about the teachers?

I suggested to my wife that she proposes to the school that in the event she catches COVID, god forbid, as a direct result of being in the school, she gets paid a £1 million insurance bonus.

That will see if they are really confident that it won’t happen or not.

Actually, that’s not true. I have asked her not to go back, the risk for her and me is more than the benefit the job brings.

I know it is important that kids go back to school both for their and the nation's benefit. But I’m not prepared for my wife to take that risk. Candidly that’s why many deals fall apart. The risks are just not worth the reward.

Alan Smith
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