I am not the only one struggling with this decision. The amount of space this has taken up in the daily conversation in a lot of households is quite staggering. Going back to school 2020 has a lot of a different feel than back to school 2019 produced. For me that feeling has been overwhelming sadness, anger, frustration, and just the general idea that I am not making the right decision no matter which decision I make. So, what did I opt to do?
Back to school 2020
If this was a Friends episode it would probably be called “the year a virus made it all really hard.” Am I right? It seems like no matter which way you opt to go you are making a lot of scary as hell decisions.
I am beyond thankful that I am not longer a K-12 educator and administrator, the weight of those roles would be more than I could handle. These men and women are trying to make choices while balancing the needs of a lot of people within their buildings. They have to consider not only the students but the teachers, aides, cafeteria staff, custodial staff, bus drivers, office and support staff. And all their loved ones at home. I ask the question though, why should this serious of a decision be placed in the hands of people with limited power and limited resources?
This isn’t a “what curriculum should the 6th-grade math teachers implement” type of decision that school districts normally make on a school level. These are broad-reaching safety concerns that have no clear guidance or answer. Why? Because this is a NOVEL virus, that means new and unknown. Honestly, why is this a decision that is being made at the lowest level of the decision tree? Shouldn’t our guidance come from a national level?
Oh, snap, she said National level!
Yep, I did. We should not all be having this existential crisis of what to do with the children in our communities and across the nation. Back to school 2020 should not have administrators in various districts trying to balance the needs of their students and all the other people that interact with those children daily within the complex web that is a traditional school setting and the general public. That is way to much pressure on a leadership team in a rural community, a suburb, or a major city.
Schools are not babysitters and should not be what holds our economy together. Like many things that have come to a head during this pandemic, we have a lot of broken systems in our country. This is a time for reckoning and renewal. We need to do the hard work to fix our issues related to basic tenets of our communities. We have reached a tipping point.
Solutions to fix the problem?
This is probably where I should offer solutions to fix the problem, right? Unfortunately, I do not have them. I am still grappling with my choice about what to do with my child in this no-win situation where each party is waiting for the other person to blink.
Right now, I am going to be sitting on the sidelines and my kindergartner is going to be enrolled in remote learning through at least October. I cannot handle the psychological burden of sending her to a school with so many unanswered questions.
Do I think that her school is doing everything within their power to keep those that opt for face-to-face instruction safe? Hell, yeah! Do I still worry about the immense burden that her teachers and the school community are going to face trying to keep all those in the building safe? Hell, yeah! The fatigue is real, y’all. Those in the building that take care of our babies put their hearts and souls in it but eventually, the cup runs dry so what will they have left for themselves.
Is my decision set in stone? I thought it was until I talked to the lovely enrollment coordinator from the school. Now I feel conflicted again. Geez, can we all get off this ride? Back to school 2020 was supposed to be amazing for our family as well as many others but for a large number of reasons from the top down to the bottom of the decision tree we are all left feeling exasperated.
Let me know you thoughts, drop me a line or comment below.
I will leave you with another version the meme that has been floating around social media that I saw shared from a friend who shared from a friend who shared it from a friend but it looks like Jaime Primak Sullivan *might* have originated it. In the wild west of the internet who actually knows. 🙂