AN exhausted mum has spoken of her frustration after spending the past year trying to shield her son from Covid while her daughter continues to go school.

The Government announced a new national lockdown this week, causing a fresh bout of stress for home-working mum Tara Strydom, 37, of Badgers Keep, Burnham.

Children Luke, eight; and Eva, six, are pupils at St Mary’s Primary in Burnham.

However, Luke has a chromosome disorder, severe learning difficulties, epilepsy and a compromised immune system.

Since March last year, Tara has been shielding Luke while juggling working from home and keeping his education going.

But Eva has had to go to school because she is not shielding.

Tara fears her daughter could catch Covid-19 without even knowing and unwittingly pass it on to her vulnerable big brother.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Strydom Family: Tara, Luke, Eva and TinusStrydom Family: Tara, Luke, Eva and Tinus

She is desperate for Luke to be vaccinated against the virus.

Tara said: “Luke was very poorly when he was little.

“When he was younger, his epilepsy was so bad. He caught flu and he had a status seizure which lasted two hours and he ended up in a coma in ICU.

“Based on that, we were told to shield in March.

“We don’t go into shops – everything is click-and-collect.

“We have to clean a week’s worth of shopping. All our parcels get left on the doorstep.”

It has led to a situation where Tara must deal with conflicting situations while husband Tinus is out at work during the day at schools and care homes.

I’m going to do what I can to keep him safe.”

Tara said there has been no real guidance from the Government on the situation for clinically vulnerable children in terms of school provisions and vaccination roll-out.

She said: “It’s horrendous, the idea that you’re sending a child to school who, if they caught it, would most probably be asymptomatic.

“Because of their ages, they play together, and you can’t separate them like you could teenagers. Mentally, you’re trying to do the best by one child but you’re being told to send the other one in to school.”

Tara says it is also difficult to maintain a routine due to the combination of Luke’s learning difficulties and keeping a Covid-safe environment.

She said: “He went back to school for two weeks, then he was on lockdown again for four weeks, then he was back to school for about ten days, and then it was Christmas. You just can’t explain it to him.

“It’s been a complete juggling act but obviously that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do what I can to keep him safe.”

Tara is now pleading for the Government to give guidance for children in Luke’s situation.

“That’s literally all I want to know,” she said.

“We get sent the Government letters to shield or not shield. It’s very broad and gives hope for clinically vulnerable ‘people’.

“It doesn’t mean ‘people’, it means ‘adults’.

“We don’t know if Luke’s going to be in and out of shielding for the next nine months.

“The anxiety I live with every day sits in my throat.”