For the first time in a while, I'm due to be back in work tomorrow. Not because of the announcements made over the weekend and today, mind, but because the rota has made its way round to me. So I will be going out and seeing exactly what it means to be in the workplace in the new normal. I'm almost looking forward to it, although it will be bereft of most of the usual faces and therefore the conversation that for the most part is what makes going to work worth it. I'd like to be able to say I have full confidence in the management of the situation, and in terms of the local management I think that's right. I don't think I will be asked to do anything that is dangerous or that fails to take into account the solid advice that has been previously given, but I am aware that this does not apply to everyone. It's a challenge that says a great deal about management, about how the principles that guide actually need to be instantiated in reality, rather than something to point to when things are going well. And it's the real top managers who don't seem to be clear on what exactly is going on at the moment.
Guidance suggests that those who are in proximity to others in an indoor space should be wearing masks, but this doesn't apply to schools. It's not clear why. I am not sure what approach to take, except that I'm hoping my Mr Twit Coronavirus beard will serve instead of a cloth around my mouth and nose. I certainly don't know how to make that decision in light of the expectations of the young people I will be around. Wear a mask? Well, if I do, am I promoting a sense of fear or of a kind of me-first distancing? If I don't, am I being reckless? No one seems to know, and the worst part of it is, no one seems to be really willing to discuss the matter in a grown up and sensible way. That's the central problem at the very core of this whole fiasco, which I think is the right word. No one at the top wants me - somewhere in the middle, as usual - to know for sure what the best advice would be, because then I can make my own decisions about how to follow it. Rather, I am given a series of vague and hand-waving suggestions which on the most plausible reading of it are about protecting the interests of someone other than me and the young people I serve. We'll see, tomorrow, of course, but I don't hold out much hope for the situation improving rapidly, partly because of the sheer darkness of the powers-behind-the-throne, and partly because of the people in whose hands the decision-making is, in reality, left. That's us, selfish, desperate, bored, frightened, frustrated... Hardly the most ideal conditions for deciding how to deal with something that might just matter.
Still, the garden centres are going to open up again soon, so that's one thing, eh?
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought