HEALTH workers have thanked head teachers and staff for looking after their children during the coronavirus pandemic, including one whose husband suffered a heart attack.
Laura Joseph had nipped to the shops last Saturday morning when she got a phone call from her 10-year-old daughter, Bree.
“She said, ‘Dad’s having a heart attack,’” said Mrs Joseph. “I said, ‘Don’t be daft.’”
But, rushing back home, school nurse assistant Mrs Joseph saw her daughter was right.
It turned out that Gilbert Joseph, who works as a postman, had suffered a tear in his aorta.
The 46-year-old was taken by ambulance to Morriston Hospital, where he underwent an emergency operation – suffering cardiac arrest again on his way to the theatre.
“He’s really fit – he doesn’t smoke, and eats well – that’s why it’s so shocking,” said Mrs Joseph, of Alltwen, in the Swansea Valley.
Although Mrs Joseph, Bree and her seven-year-old brother Griff cannot visit him due to the coronavirus restrictions, they are being regularly updated on his good progress.
It has left Mrs Joseph, 38, especially grateful for YGG Pontardawe where she, along with other key workers, leaves her children two or three times a week.
She thanked staff for their efforts.
“The school is definitely a lifeline,” she said.
Parents in Swansea have also voiced support for their local childcare hubs.
Consultant anaesthetist Felicity Jones leaves her and her GP husband Martin’s children at Pen Y Fro Primary School, Dunvant, around three times a week.
Dr Jones said Rosie, 8, and younger brother Edward, 6, were pupils there in normal times and understandably found the new arrangements a little strange.
The Joneses also have a two-year-old, John, who attends a private nursery.
Dr Jones said: “The school are doing their best – they are doing an admirable job.
“Without it, me and my husband would not have been able to go to work.
“The teachers are brilliant and the headmistress has been really helpful.
“It must be hard for them – I think they deserve recognition and credit.”
Community nurse Sam Karboun and her delivery driver husband Abder leave their children – Zak, 8, and Layla, 5 – at the same school.
“Yesterday there were only six children there,” said Mrs Karboun. “They said they had their own bathroom and their own (school) bikes!”
She added: “The staff are lovely. Without the school, one of us would not be able to do what we do.”
It has also been a learning curve for schools.
Dunvant and Hendrefoilan primaries have teamed up to deliver childcare for key workers.
Kerry Thomas, head teacher at Dunvant primary, where the childcare takes place, said the two schools had worked very well together.
“The staff have really gelled,” she said. “They have gone with the spirit of being the hub in the community.
“It has taken the stress out for me.”
Miss Thomas said up to 10 children attended every day.
“We wanted to make sure it’s more about their well-being, and having a nice time,” she said.
“We’ve got woods here, and we’re doing activities about key workers.”
She added: “The older ones have been really good.”
Dunvant councillor and mum, Louise Gibbard, is a governor at both Dunvant and Pen Y Fro.
“I’m very proud and grateful for the hard work of staff in both schools, and in fact all the schools across Swansea staying open for those who need them at this very difficult time,” she said.