Should our children go back to school or not? As parents we're facing some tough decisions in the days ahead

Today my family has a big decision to make.

By the end of the day, we must email our son's school to confirm whether or not he will be returning when the gates open next week.

The school requires that we let them know on a Thursday if our child will attend or not the following week, so they can plan and make arrangements for the correct number of pupils.

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My son Lawrie is 11, and while you might find this strange, was hugely angry and disappointed when lockdown robbed him of his chance to do his SATs.

Lawrie, 11, has been doing his school work at home since lockdown began

He'd been preparing for months, and felt angry and upset that all the past papers and revision was not going to end in the exam he had expected - and the rewards which were promised afterwards.

In September he'll be off to secondary school, and had been fully expecting his Year 6 to be similar to that experienced by his sister - hard work followed by relief and a sense of achievement, a fun school trip, and a chance to spend time with the friends he's grown up with - some of whom will be going in separate directions for the next stage in their school lives.

He was also due to be taking his Bikeability course during the week lockdown began, and has chalked that up as another milestone enjoyed by others, but denied to him.

With two parents working long hours from home, he has quietly got on with the work the school has set each day, occasionally asking for help but largely getting on with it in his bedroom or at his computer.

But he is a sociable little boy, he loves the company of his friends, and as the weeks have gone by, has turned more and more to online games as a way of spending time with his classmates.

I know many working parents like myself are torn with guilt about the amount of time our children are being asked to entertain themselves while we sit at our computers working from our kitchens, dining room tables and bedrooms.

It's hard to police screen time when you're tied up with work tasks, and endless video and phone calls. Each time I take a break and go to check on my children, I can guarantee that once his schoolwork for the day is complete, I'll find my son playing computer games and chattering to his friends, or watching other people play computer games on YouTube.

I fret and limit his time on the devices, but can see he loves the interaction with his peers and when he's bursting to rabbit away to someone and I'm trying to focus on work, sometimes it's easier to turn a blind eye to the clock and let him carry on.

Sadly I know that excessive time playing games does affect his moods, and that chatting to pals via the games console is no substitute for face to face interaction.

I'm not saying lockdown has been terrible - we've loved our family walks, having extra time together and being able to spend time in the garden and cooking together. My children have both done some truly wonderful artwork and perfected the art of wearing pyjamas all day.

But my son is a little boy who feels hurt, angry and bewildered by this year's events, has been very worried about keeping his grandparents safe, and will benefit hugely from being back with his peer group to have a laugh and let off steam.

When talk of schools reopening began, and his older sister taunted him that he'd be going back before her, he was initially upset.

But when the choice of going back or not became a reality, he said he really did want to go to school. He wants to see his friends, and spend time back within the walls saying a gentle goodbye to the building and teachers who have taught him for the past seven years. He wants to prepare for this chapter to close, and then next to begin.

Now, with an internet bursting with opinions and 'facts' about the risks, I feel overwhelmed by this decision.

Is it too soon to be reopening schools? By sending my son in, am I risking another peak in the virus, and putting the vulnerable people in our family and community at greater risk? Will the risk be significantly lower if I wait a week, or a fortnight, or until September to let him go back? Or is the lockdown causing him greater harm to his mental wellbeing, allowing him to brood on his fears and anxieties without having his friends to distract him? And will all this computer time damage his focus and concentration longer term?

I honestly don't know the answer to any of these questions. But the decision is apparently in my hands, so by the end of the day, it will have to be made, one way or another.