I think it’s safe to say that this has been the most insane school year any of us has ever seen (although if you’ve been a part of a crazier school year I sure would like some details on that)!
It started out so promising. The kids could walk together to classes that were held in actual buildings. With teachers. In the flesh. And they could, you know, touch each other without fear of spreading a deadly virus. Sure they spread a few colds here and there. But not a deadly one!
Ah, those were the days.
But where we start and where we finish can sometimes be miles and miles away. And those miles – from the before to the after of this school year – well our kids may as well have circled the globe by now, the landscape of their young lives is so profoundly changed.
The world can seem static for a long time, and then all of a sudden the plates of the Earth can shift right under your feet. And you can actually feel the shift happen. Not in retrospect, but right now. And when the Earth shifts under your feet it is, of course, destabilizing. Sometimes the forces of change are subtle. Other times they deliver a body blow.
2020 has been a body blow. We’ll be feeling the impact of this hit for some time.
But anyway, body blow or not, the school year is coming to a close.
I had hoped to kind of prance over the (imaginary) finish line, arms up in celebration, mimosa in hand. But to be honest I’m more or less limping over this particular finish line, wondering what bus it was that ran me over in March and dragged me through these last few months. (I’ll let you know if I get a license plate on it, since I’m pretty sure it’s the same bus that ran you over).
Either way, the kids are moving along now.
Oh yes, school is out for summer.
What does that even mean anymore? That this looooong day off just kind of keeps going, for a few more months, and then perhaps continues into the fall and, I dunno, to infinity?
As we look ahead to next year, there is a lot of hand-wringing going on. So much fear of the unknown. Can our kids learn in masks? (Probably yes). Kids in Asia have been wearing masks for quite some time.
Should they have to? (Well, maybe. Maybe not?). It’s hard to say.
I know we all feel like experts right now. We’ve all read a shit ton (that’s the technical term) about COVID-19, and I bet we all have studies and data points to bolster our argument for or against the precautions that have been thrust upon us. Arguments for or against the precautions we’re seeing in draft form now – couched as suggestions for how the next school year might look.
A lot of parents don’t like what they’re seeing. It’s easy to see why – it doesn’t look like how we expect school to look. It looks sterile, even depressing. And is it all even necessary? Will our kids be at risk? Will we?
I keep trying to remind myself that despite all my reading, I’m not, in fact, an expert on pandemics or public health.
I’m not an epidemiologist.
I don’t really know what schools should look like for our kids next year. I have tried to curb my initial emotional reactions about the possible regulations by reminding myself that I honestly don’t know enough about any of this to take a public stand for or against health and safety measures.
I hate to think of school as being sterile or unwelcoming – but I also doubt that it’s going to be the hell-scape a lot of parents seem to be imagining.
I think school will be – different. I’m not inclined to think different is a synonym for catastrophic. Do I have my concerns? Of course I do. I think we all do. But I don’t think my kids are about to become character actors in a George Orwell story either.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
What I will say is this – we all just got through something really hard. Like, really, really hard.
Imagine if last fall someone told you that by the end of the year you would be homeschooling all of your children during a pandemic! At a time of massive cultural and civil unrest and record unemployment, nonetheless.
You’d hardly have believed it. And yet, here we are.
We may not be shining right now (although I’m sure some of you are!) Many of us are not.
But the kids are alright.
They’re alright. They’re alright.
We might have to muddle along for a while longer. We might lose the last bits of our sanity this summer. I don’t have any answers. But I do have an observation, and it is simply this:
We may have been hit by a bus. But we’re still rolling along.
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