It has been so crazy seeing all the back to school posts over the past couple of weeks while my kids still have 2 more weeks of summer. It is also interesting to see that the majority of the back to school posts I have seen have been kids in masks because they are actually going back to a school building. I don’t know if they are going to school 5 days a week or if it is a hybrid situation. All I know is that it appears that they are going back to some degree. It seems like all of my friends and family down south (Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina) are all going back to school in person. I don’t think I have seen any posts yet of kids doing 100% virtual learning. I wish I could say the same for our area. I honestly don’t think our school division here has any plans to go back to school at all this year. They say that they are working on a plan to phase students back, but I haven’t seen any real concrete evidence that this is actually going to happen, and they refuse to answer any questions about how it will work, which leads me to believe they have no clue.
I have to admit that the whole school situation has become sort of an obsession for me. I am following everything super closely and watching every single 8-hour school board meeting while beating my head against the wall trying to get a sense of what they are thinking and what the plans are. So far, I have very little faith in their ability to figure out how to get us all back in the buildings. I also get sucked into reading discussions on social media that pertain to our school system. I never get into debates with people, and I have never offered my own point of view or commented on anything. I just get sucked into reading everyone else’s opinions and the solutions being offered. I read article after article that gets posted. I follow news stories about the states that have returned to school and how it is going. It really is insane how much of my time is wasted obsessing over it. My friends here that want to know what is going on, know that they can call and ask me because I am following it so closely. I don’t really know why I am so obsessed with it. I don’t know if it is the teacher in me, the parent in me, the fact that I have nothing else to do, or a combination of all three. All I know is that I need to stop. It is consuming me. It is just that it has been 167 days (yes, I counted) since my kids have stepped into a school building, and I have no clue how many more days it will be before that actually happens again. That thought terrifies me. I know my kids and know what they need, and they need to be in school in person as soon as possible. I know that neither one of them is going to handle virtual school well.
I have said this before…I will not argue with you about what is best for students because, as a former special education teacher, I know better than most how different each student’s needs are. I also know that we are all at different comfort levels when it comes to safely returning to school. I believe that as parents we are the best advocates for our children, and we know best what is most important for our kids. What is best for your child may not be what is best for mine, and that is ok. I know with my whole heart that both of my girls need to actually go to school, and I wish so bad that we had that option. What is funny is that, although I strongly believe they both need in person school, the reasons for that for each kid are vastly different. One of my kids needs to go to school in person because she is an extremely social person and needs face to face interactions with friends and teachers and more hands-on, interactive learning. She got very depressed during the spring when we were confined to the house with no outside interactions. I am terrified for her mental state when classes start back virtually. My other kid needs in person learning because she can’t pay attention and focus during virtual lessons. She has even admitted that she can’t pay attention when staring at a computer all day. She needs more individual attention from her teachers and the structure that comes with being in school. She struggles with managing her time and schedule with virtual school. I am afraid of her falling even further behind academically and not being prepared for college in 2 years.
I tell you all this to say that my mind is working overtime, and I know that many of you are in the same boat. You may not have reached the level of obsession that I have, but I know that you are worried about school to some extent. I want you to know that you aren’t alone. The whole situation SUCKS! There, I said it! Whether your kids are going back to school wearing masks and social distancing or you are praying that your WIFI holds throughout the day, we are all in this together. We are all doing the best we can with whatever circumstances we have been dealt even though none of them are ideal. We have to have faith that it will all work out in the end. I know I have to just accept that this is how it is going to be for the foreseeable future and make the best of it for my kids. Here is me committing publicly that I am going to stop obsessing and just let it go. Whatever happens will happen, and we will get through it. It is time to move on and accept the things I cannot change.