This morning I asked our school nurse how she felt about us coming back to work and the kids coming back to school (in person) while the pandemic continues to rage through our community. We were discussing how bad our county's numbers still are, how many people we knew of that are seriously ill, how many people have died. Just yesterday the son of a friend of ours stopped by the pet store to tell Gregg that his dad had just died of Covid. The nicest man you'd ever want to meet, with three kids (two of whom are in their late teens), gone. Our school resource officer, listening to our conversation, told us his 47 year old brother just died from Covid over the Christmas break. These stories are everywhere at the moment. The nurse told me she's torn on the issue. She said her feelings about whether to come back are pretty much a 50/50 split between whether or not it's the right thing to do. I certainly understand where she's coming from.
Part of me thinks that a year or so of lost schooling, bad grades, and truancy (all serious problems since last March) can be made up, but a life can never be replaced. And so many people in our community are still being so very irresponsible. A large group of well-to-do parents at the high school our middle school feeds into took it upon themselves to host a large dance at the local country club last weekend, and then filled up social media with pictures of their two dozen or so kids dancing, posing for photos, and having a grand old time---with no masks, no social distancing, and no mention of any safety protocols. They were upset that the school wasn't hosting the dance this year and decided that their precious teenagers shouldn't have to "miss out". The district office even shared these photos on Facebook, then quickly deleted those posts when there was a huge community outcry. That was last weekend--right before we all came back to school face-to-face.
The sheer callousness and entitlement made me furious. Just furious. These people have zero respect for the lives or well being of others. I wish there was some way to make all those parents and their bratty kids stay home and quarantine until we can be sure they're not carriers, but of course we can't. And besides, what good would it do? If they'll be so blatant about an expensive social event as to put it all over Facebook, what kind of precautions must they be taking on ordinary days? Probably next to none.
But then there's another angle to our schools being out that I can't stop thinking about. There's a sweet little boy in our disabled class who lives in foster care. He's non verbal and sometimes has to use a wheelchair. A couple of months ago when he arrived at school for the day and the classroom staff went to change his diaper, they saw visible evidence that he had been abused. They called the school nurse down to have a look and to get her opinion, and she immediately said, "Call DSS. And this child needs to go to the hospital." What a blessing that this poor boy had the school staff to look out for signs of abuse and to help him! And if we'd not been at school that week, no one would have known. I shudder to think of all the things that can slip through the cracks more easily when kids aren't at school. Then, of course, we have so many kids that depend on us for things like two full meals a day. They have drive-through meal pickups every day while we're out on virtual learning, but how many poor folks lack transportation to come and get it? Despite all best efforts to provide services to poor kids, they're definitely at a disadvantage when we're forced to stay home. Also, for lots of our students school is a safe place where they get emotional support, too, and I'm sure schools closing are damaging to their mental health. (Another reason why I get so mad when I hear the wealthy parents of the popular kids whining about their little snowflakes "missing out" on parties and sporting events and dances!)
So I'm kind of like the school nurse: split 50/50 on whether it's a good idea for us to be back at school in person. What do you think? Do the risks outweigh the benefits, or vice versa?
Your line- " a year or so of lost schooling, bad grades, and truancy (all serious problems since last March) can be made up, but a life can never be replaced" sums it all up prefect." Im glad your the good people Jen. Stay safe please.ReplyDelete
And these "well to do"? Money doesn't necessarily bring manners, commonsense and taste. The rich in this country just get more self entitled by the day.
You hit the nail on the head about the rich and their growing sense of entitlement. I would just add that so many wanna-be rich people are pretty damn entitled, too.Delete
I'm safe, Jenn, because stay at home is what I do. I wish all the best to all of you in the front lines.ReplyDelete
I hope you can get fully vaccinated soon, Joanne, and resume normal life. I hope for that for us all.Delete
I don't know. I simply do not know. If only we'd had a president who took COVID seriously and had acted immediately . . .ReplyDelete
Amen. A thousand times amen!Delete
Is your school full time, five days a week for everyone? Our school has been doing hybrid where the kids go every other day at school and opposite days virtual at home. This keeps the classes at half the size so students can be more spaced out. All students also have the option of going full time virtual. I don't have kids in school anymore but I think hybrid is better than full time. There are so many parents that throw fits about it being virtual and they put a lot of pressure on the schools. Personally though I think it is better to be full time virtual. I mean really, you are talking about possible life and death.ReplyDelete
We have three options for parents: A/B cohort days with every other day being an at home, online day.....completely virtual.....and last, and worst, 5 days in person.Delete
You've just about summed it up. I wouldn't be 50/50 about it; I'd make sure all schools were closed, and insist that everyone stays at home (if at all possible). There's only one way we're going to beat this virus, and that involves EVERYONE following government advice. Surely the police have photos of that Country Club party; all those people should be fined or prosecuted.ReplyDelete
We have no shutdown laws in place and the police won't do diddly-squat about simple mask mandate violations, much less social events. This is why our state of approximately 5 million people has had over 387,000 positive cases and nearly 7000 deaths....so far. Add in the misery of serious illness, hospitalization, lingering aftereffects, astronomical medical bills that so many people are dealing with and it's just too awful.Delete
It’s such a hard thing. I get it but lives are lives and a little more time of being careful could save more than we know.ReplyDelete
I totally agree.Delete
Over here, something like the dance at the Country Club would not have been possible - everything is closed here, apart from supermarkets and other essential places such as pharmacies and so on. Schools are closed, too, but some schools offer a mix of online and presence lessons, so that the children can come to school at least some of the time.ReplyDelete
Disadvantaged children are a big concern here, too. That problem is very real, and like you, I shudder to think of all that's been going on in those homes (if we even want to call them that!) behind closed doors all those months.
I envy you your country's sensible precautions and restrictions. People talk about America being the "Land of the Free".....yes, free to harm others and to spread misery. I resent the lack of community-mindedness here.Delete
If the party had been held here in UK, unless it was able to be kept very very quiet, the organisers would have been fined £10,000 each and the participants would also have been fined £800 if there had been over 15 people there. I think that is right...though the difference between 14 and 15 people at an illegal event perplexes me!( £200 if less than 15 ) I was surprised when this " rule" was brought out, as the basic order is to only meet up with one other person, outside, if not from your own household! It seemed to be giving permission for small parties in my mind. But then our government led by Boris has made so many weird judgements that don't make sense. Apparently he is insisting today that he needs to fly to Scotland for a meeting that could be done online. The scottish minister is saying we don't want you here and it is in the face of the " stay at home" and "only essential travel" rule that he himself put in place.ReplyDelete
It's fascinating (but disheartening) to read about how things are being handled in other countries versus here. We certainly have no room to judge anything Boris does considering that the main reason we're approaching half a million dead here thanks to the Orange Menace.Delete
Last May, there was a young woman on the local news complaining bitterly about all that she had lost. She was graduating from high school and could not have a big party or even a ceremony at the school. She went on at length about how hard she had worked to get to this day, and how cheated she and her class mates were. I don't get that. It was a perfect opportunity for her parents to explain to her that life wasn't always fair, and that sometimes our own wants and desires needed to be set aside for the good of others.ReplyDelete
Sadly, with some exceptions, the prevailing middle class parental lessons are that our own wants and desires always come before the good of others; this is the very definition of "fairness" to these parents and teens. Only pathetic suckers would set aside their own wants and desires for the good of others. I don't think I am exaggerating in saying this.Delete
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Lynn Marie is right on the money! Debby, I say the same thing as you ALL THE TIME, how parents are really failing their kids in not teaching them that life often isn't fair and also to have a sense of pride in personal sacrifices for the common good. If the worst thing that ever happens to a generation of kids is that they miss out on a year or two of socializing, parties, and big celebrations....then they will be among the luckiest human beings in history! When I think of some of the things their grandparents and great-grandparents had to live through, the sacrifices they had to make, I want to smack any whiny teenager who complains how tough their life is at the moment when they're safe at home, with the Internet and online shopping and food delivery and all the thousand and one everyday blessings they have in their lives.Delete
I don't hear kids complain but I've heard a helluva lot of parents with hearts breaking on their kids behalf.Delete
I can't stand it, it's a global pandemic and we are whining about kids missing the year six camp. They have another 70 years of life to have camps and parties so let's put away the violins and get on with it
I've been virtual schooling with my first grader GS since late August. In two weeks, despite our still high numbers, the K-2nd grade is going to hybrid classes (one week in school/one week virtual). The only option not to do so would mean changing to a new teacher...pretty traumatic for a first grader, especially as he has a great teacher he dearly loves. Will just have to deal with it. I did buy a large air purifier with a HEPA filter, so taking whatever steps I can to help us all. DH works with idiots who refuse to wear masks (he is only one who does), so even though I don't go anywhere, I'm still at risk of exposure. Sad state of affairs.ReplyDelete
I just want to say that I think you caretakers who are doing virtual school with children deserve a huge round of applause! I know it's not easy. I understand how tough it is for people who need to work but have young kids to care for and guide through virtual classes. It's a big mess. If more people would just do the right thing for long enough we could get a handle on this pandemic. It's so frustrating. Scary, too.Delete
Good luck to you, and your first grader. Stay as safe as possible!
I'd like to get back to normalcy, but until we get these numbers down, I hate the idea of children, and teachers, and school staff, being at risk.ReplyDelete
I'd rather err on the side of caution.
That's my inclination, too. It would be different if the community were doing the right thing, but as the Covidiots in my town demonstrate, they're not willing to make the smallest of sacrifices for the well being of us all. Thanks to people like that, it's not safe to be at school right now.Delete
Sadly, tis a 50/50 world right now. And the entitlement? Tell me about it, I'm in retail.ReplyDelete
I was in retail management for 15 years prior to getting this job. I know just what you mean!Delete
I would be absolutely in favor of keeping every one home but then...ReplyDelete
That little boy who was being molested. I have a feeling that there are many stories like this and they are tragedies. Horrible, horrible tragedies.
I don't know. I am glad I am not the one who has to make this decision.
As to the party- those people are trash.
Another group of people I feel so badly for are the underpaid essential workers who can't work from home and can't afford to quit and stay home with kids when schools are out. What a terrible burden on them. What a position to be in. And we depend on these folks SO MUCH and the rich entitled assholes don't give two shits for their lives, much less their well being. You're right. Those people are TRASH.Delete
I am glad that I am retired and my children are grown. I know in Chicago that teachers have refused to go back in person until they are vaccinated. Some parents are furious while others say they wouldn't send their kids back anyway until it is safe. So you are right about it being 50/50. But those partiers are wrong and should be made to quarantine. I saw a phrase today: "mask it or casket".ReplyDelete
Stay safe, Jen.
Mask it or casket is about right. Two hundred more Covid deaths were reported in South Carolina just today.Delete
All teachers and staff should be vaccinated ASAP. However, since there is a lack of supply (how could this happen?), that might not happen till the fall semester.ReplyDelete
Yes, we're supposed to be in the next tier of people receiving the vaccine, but given how badly the rollout has been handled who knows when that happen.Delete
I wonder if the school nurse was trying to be apolitical with her 50/50 response. That's the unfortunate thing about Covid -- it's become so heavily politicized. And it didn't need to be! We should all be on the same page in trying to defeat this virus, but Trump -- with his stupid swaggering masklessness -- helped create the conservative tendency to minimize it.ReplyDelete
Anyway, you're right to be enraged by the entitled parents. Here, they'd all be fined for having a party in violation of lockdown. The police scour social media and fine people who post pictures of parties and gatherings.
I worry about disadvantaged kids too, and those who need the structure of school to stay out of trouble. I think that's a huge reason why the government prioritizes keeping schools open -- in addition to academic concerns.
No, I don't think the nurse was trying to be apolitical. She's smart, and very educated, and there's never any hint of any political stuff in our conversations. She's a great nurse, and we're lucky to have her. I think she's genuinely torn, as so many of us are.Delete
Jennifer, this was indeed a thoughtful post. Our school district is forcing the elementary teachers to go back full time on Monday five days a week. No one has had the first vaccine yet. I look at it this way. A life is a life, and once gone, is gone. I would simply be beside myself if I knew I spread Covid to someone, and they died. I couldn't live with myself. And for all these people who are whining that their children are missing all of those special events in their life, at least they are healthy and alive. My parents survived World War II and the Great Depression. They missed out on stuff I am sure, but they survived knowing that they had to make sacrifices for the good of the group. I just don't get the anti-maskers. I truly don't. I view them as very self-centered and inconsiderate. These are my two cents!ReplyDelete
I'm just the same, Michael. I wouldn't be able to live with the guilt if I knew my carelessness or callousness spread the virus to someone who got really or sick, or died.Delete
As to your parents, see my reply to Lynn Marie and Debby. I think about your parents' generation a lot in these days. I think we have a second pandemic in this country right now: a pandemic of selfishness. And it's killing us.
I just read your responses to Lynn Marie and Debby. We all are definitely on the same page!Delete
I am not 50/50, I am 100/0 in favour of schools remaining closed when it is a choice between life and death. There are many different ways of killing people. You can kill them with a gun or your own bare hands or you can kill them accidentally - by failing to follow sensible precautions during a deadly pandemic. The idiots at the country club are arguably victims of Trump's dreadful leadership with regard to COVID-19. They were tragically emboldened.ReplyDelete
I think schools should be closed - but open to the small number of vulnerable children who need it for support as well as education. I think, too, some of the most vital work done by schools is picking up pieces that should be picked up by different services. I think the pandemic has thrown up all kinds of questions about how we provide support - and how we provide education.ReplyDelete
Saving vulnerable and elderly people from a slow horrible death is what we should be doing. Period. I think that has to be top priority. There is no middle way - covid 19 is no respecter of middle ways.
Definitely 50/50. Sorry Jennifer but it is a long comments thread and I've read about half. I live in Australia and if we'd had anything like US numbers ... well we wouldn't have anyway. We've had no community covid in the country for the last fortnight, kids are happily going back to school, it's all good, due to a hard and early lockdown and laws re masks and social distancing (and the states shut borders regularly to other states as soon as one gets community transmission. It's ongoing.) There's always a bit of blowback in the media and on the socials, but in general Australia is flying though this. It is with no hubris when I say I feel for your country. Sarah xReplyDelete
OK, so hubris ...Delete
After ten months of no community transmission, our state went into lockdown today with one case and no children will be 'happily returning to school' tomorrow. Aghh! Punishment for my skyting how good we are at this covid game.
There are lots of people here in Northern Ireland also ignoring the virus safety measures. I think emotional pressure is often to blame. "It's so upsetting that I can't do X or Y because of the virus." So people cave in and do X and Y anyway.ReplyDelete
I had my first vaccination last week, but I don't think normal life will resume for some time yet. The vaccinations are well short of 100 per cent effective, and I could still catch the virus or pass it on to others. We'll only be back to normal life when the virus is totally under control, and that's a long way off.
Today I spoke with my daughter who is home from work right now on maternity leave with our 1 month old grand daughter. My daughter told me that the school had called and our 10 year old grandson had been exposed to Covid on the school bus. The school said our grandson "should be quarantined from going out to places and being with other people, but it was fine for him to come to school." WTF? That is what the school told my daughter. It sounds nuts to me. The exposure happened 4 or 5 days ago. I am praying my grandson doesn't get it. I think my daughter should keep him home from school as long as this virus is spreading if this is how the school district handles children who have been exposed.ReplyDelete
Hello Jennifer, it is unbelievable how many people still think they can do what they want without thinking of the effect their behaviour could have on other people, totally selfish and indicative of how many people still don't take this virus seriously. We will never get over this if people don't pull together and do what needs to be done and stay indoors! Still waiting on our first Covid vaccinations here in Scotland, hopefully it will be soon. So sorry to hear about the little boy being abused, hopefully now things will improve for the poor little soul.ReplyDelete