The news today featured parents, kids, teachers and schools. What is safe? What should be done? How do we balance the economic need for parents to be able to work, and the health and welfare of teachers, staff and students?
This afternoon, I also had a lovely catch-up-chat with a good friend. She happens to teach in Florida. Right now, Florida is a state with raging infection levels. They have full intensive care units, rising numbers of positive cases, higher levels of hospitalization and most sadly, increasing numbers of deaths. The question of how to reopen schools in the middle of such a situation is not easily answered.
The news here in Vermont is different. We have received accolades for being the state which has gone the longest without a COVID-19 death. But we, too, are struggling to find that same magic “right answer” for the return to schools.
As a matter of fact, my inbox contained an email survey this afternoon, too. It is from the new superintendent. He asks for input from all parents, choosing now if we prefer completely remote instruction, or a two-days in, three days off rotational schedule for the fall. Providing options is nice, and we (like everyone else in town) are discussing it with our daughter this week.
The role that schools play in our culture has never been clearer. It’s good that we all recognize this, I think. I don’t think we under-appreciated teachers necessarily before this. (I also believe that we failed to notice the work of grocery store clerks, nurses, doctors, and all other “essential” workers in the early days of quarantine.)
But I do know that I personally have forgotten how interconnected we all are. And I think being reminded of that is a good thing–a small silver lining for today.