Seven weeks ago Minister Meisch got the phone call from the Prime Minister to see if all schools could be closed "for a couple of weeks". In a long interview with Lisa Burke, he explains how things unfolded since then.
Government officials have worked long hours in all departments, all countries, since COVID-19 spread west out of Wuhan. I'm not sure many of us could have pointed to that on a map before, but at least our geography is improving as we follow the journey of the virus.
Together, we have all tried to find a new rhythm of living under lockdown. But now the levers are easing gently. With the slow, steady and stepped return to school for students, teachers and all associated, necessary professions such as cooking and cleaning, goes the slow, steady return 'back' to work, or rather work from offices, for parents. We can hear the increased hum of vehicles on the roads, perhaps with a little sadness after such an enforced environmentally-friendly period.
We have all seen first hand that there is no easy solution to this blanket quarantine, but have understood its need in order to protect a nation's health. And we've seen equal measures being copied, to a greater or lesser degree, in other nations.
By life's very nature of not being equal, this situation has not been easy for many families. There are single parents trying to work-from-home whilst also home-schooling. There are families who have the unexpected luxury of not being able to work, but with guaranteed income, able to help their children at home. There are those who have one child and it's been a long and lonely experience. Some have revelled in family bonding time; others have argued; some even more-so.
Minister Meisch is also a parent, to a teenager and two primary school children. He knows what it's like. His team at the Ministry are now preparing for the stepped reintegration of students to school to finish the academic year at school, not just for learning's sake, but also for social skills.
There have been criticisms from unions and parent groups, worried about children (or family members at home) with compromised immunity; worried about a resurgence of the virus; worried for valid reasons. There can never be a right answer for everyone, but here, Minister Meisch explains what he and his team have tried to consider in order to make the best decisions for the children, with their health, educational and social needs at the heart of these choices.