Ah, the fresh new term smell of September. In many ways, the first week of this month is more of a new start than January 1.
I have ingrained memories of new blazers, uncomfortable shiny Clarks shoes and a brand new school bag neatly packed.
As a studious schoolgirl, I’d go back into the classroom every autumn brimming with enthusiasm.
And, boy, are we ready for some back-to-school positivity this year.
While my three sons have never shared my swotty tendencies and would normally need some cajoling to get them back into their blazers, this year is different.
Although summer was an adventure of sorts for them — sleeping in, taking their chances with groups of teens in the park, going out on their bikes, risking public transport and ordering takeaways wherever they happened to be — my youngest, 14, admits even he is bored by it.
Susanna says she and her family are ready for some back-to-school positivity But she says she is confused by the ‘mangled mess’ of the details of the return. Pictured: These children in Doncaster were among those who had to wear face masks on their first day back at school
And while the alarm call will come as a shock, a return to the school day will do us all good.
But when it comes to the details, I put my hand up from the back of the class and admit I am utterly confused. What a mangled mess.
Piers and I, now back after our summer break, worked throughout the pandemic.
As in all workplaces, there are Covid-19 restrictions in place at the GMB studio but you have to get on with it.
I don’t get why that isn’t the case with schools. Why does it all seem so neurotic and chaotic?
Even the ever-organised Kirstie Allsopp came a cropper. Yesterday she tweeted she accidentally sent her son back to school a day early.
I, too, was hard pushed to pin down when, where and through which entrance my boys should re-enter their London state secondary.
The school sent out a 20-minute video explaining the details, but it has taken me three attempts to watch it, and I’ve relied on a parents’ group chat to get to grips with the rules.
There will be an early and a late shift, separated by an hour and, of course, my two are in different ones.
I am heartbroken at the news of brilliant Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman’s death from cancer at 43.
I was at the GQ Awards 2018, where he won International Man of the Year.
Asked about his success, he said he had no choice but ‘to live in the moment’.
We should all learn from him.
Despite being one boy down — my eldest is preparing for university — the school run just got more complicated.
There will be different entry points for students. Not knowing the names of the doorways, I am leaving it up to my boys to work it all out.
But I can imagine teachers tearing their hair out herding the children like cats as they funnel separate year groups to their safe zones.
How working parents of younger, less independent children will cope is beyond me.
When my youngest son asked if he needed a face mask, I confidently replied ‘yes’, but only in corridors.
Then a friend told me the answer was ‘no’, only schoolchildren in lockdown areas in England need to wear them.
A glance at the Government website says that masks are recommended in communal areas where social distancing can’t be enforced.
I’m still scratching my head. Does that mean he should wear one in the corridor or not? I’ll have to re-watch the video.
Another friend told me masks worn on the bus must be removed on arrival, put in a plastic bag to take home and then a fresh mask worn in school.
It all seems so convoluted, especially when you consider so many of the children will have been hanging out together anyway.
I don’t blame teachers for the mayhem.
After dealing with the woeful mismanagement of exam results, headteachers are trying to make schools as safe as possible in the face of an avalanche of guidelines.
Susanna and Piers Morgan worked on Good Morning Britain throughout pandemic. There are restrictions in place at the GMB studio but you have to get on with it and Susanna doesn’t understand why the same isn’t the case for schools
It was classic Gavin Williamson to issue new Department for Education advice — a 25,000-word document — on Friday night, the eve of a bank holiday weekend.
Meanwhile, I worry about the experience my eldest faces as he starts university. The University and College Union says it is too dangerous for face-to-face teaching to resume.
But after holidays abroad, being on planes, enjoying a pint in Wetherspoon’s, it’s frankly ridiculous to put a stop to our 18-year-olds being properly educated in a tutorial.
The truth is our children need their education back and we will get used to the new rules. But no more last-minute guidelines please, Gavin.
It’s time to let headteachers get on with their job.
The very real scourge of face mask fatigue
I am a great advocate of face masks but we’ve all got so lazy with them.
I’ve seen people wear them on their chins, or only over their mouths, or not at all.
On a hospital visit the other day, an elderly lady removed hers to sneeze as I walked by. I understand why.
The thought of sneezing into one is repulsive, but isn’t catching germs the point?
Meanwhile, I had a massage and had to wear a mask while lying face down. I felt like I was about to pass out and had to go home.
We all need to sort out our mask etiquette.
Forget the curse, I hope my friend Ranvir clinches a Strictly romance
The BBC couldn’t afford the ludicrous fee Piers would no doubt demand, but I’m excited my beautiful and graceful colleague Ranvir Singh, pictured, is the one stepping into the Strictly limelight this year.
She is about to have the time of her life, with three months on Planet Sequins, so it made me giggle when she said what she was looking forward to was ‘having regular Covid testing’.
Her Strictly journey is going to be more exciting than that! It turns out her main fear is the fitness factor as, like me, she’s put on a stone in lockdown.
Susanna hopes Ranvir Singh, who is stepping into the Strictly limelight this year, will find romance on the dancefloor
But thanks to the dance practice in the training room, she can rest assured she’ll be in the shape of her life by Christmas.
Ranvir is single, so I’m hopeful she might end up in a romantic hold on the dancefloor.
But when I asked her about the Strictly Curse to try to wheedle out who she will be partnered with, she replied coyly: ‘Doesn’t that only apply when one of the couple is already attached?’
Fancy footwork indeed.
Off-duty Rishi rocks
As if he weren’t in favour enough, Rishi Sunak has gone up in the popularity stakes by nailing casual dressing.
A rare achievement for a male politician, but with his smart-casual jacket, navy jeans and stylish footwear, Rishi looks even more like the saviour we need in these troubled times.
Compared with Boris’ dishevelled downtime look, Rishi is a fashion icon.
But with tax hikes on the horizon, his stylish look might be a necessary distraction.
Rishi Sunak has gone up in the popularity stakes by nailing casual dressing