Several states have now announced that students will not return to school this year due to the COVID-19 global pandemic crisis.
And the fretting has begun.
“The poor Seniors.” “I am so sad.” “This is heartbreaking.” “What about prom?” “What about graduation?”
My own thought was, “Thank you. Now I don’t have to buck the system by keeping my kids at home!” Apparently, I am in the minority in my elation.
My joy exists not just because I am a homeschooler at heart. It’s not because now I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to make sure lunches are packed and breakfast is eaten and clothes are on frontward and bedtimes are before 1:00 a.m. and homework is ready and book fair orders are turned in and I have sold the most Booster cards in the whole school.
It’s not because I hate parent meetings and conferences and cub scouts and cheer rallies and my kid’s friends. I don’t. It’s definitely not because I have forgotten to pick up my children from school at least once.
Sarcasm aside, this crisis has been an unexpected punch in the face for a lot of people. And that is exactly why school doesn’t matter one iota right now.
My family has already had multiple unexpected face punches in the past several months, including serious illness, sadness, grief, and death. We can’t take any more. I mean, Not. One. More. Thing.
In our little meaningless community in the middle of Nowhere, USA, entire factories are being shut down because hundreds of employees have tested positive for this deadly disease, and the deaths have just begun. Do you know who these employees are? Yes, they are the parents of the students in your kid’s school.
A friend of mine is a third grade teacher in our school system who returned from the United Kingdom with this illness after a spring break trip. Her son is one of my daughter’s very best friends. I know people who work at Costco who tested positive. A restaurant owner in our town died yesterday from the virus. It has invaded other local companies such as Arconic, Cobham, Kraft Heinz, and Tyson, where nearly 140 people now have the virus and two have died to date.
This is not your mother’s seasonal flu. This is a building on fire.
I have a husband who has had ongoing pneumonia issues this year, and a daughter who was diagnosed with walking pneumonia in February, which resembled this virus. Maybe we’ve already had it at our house; maybe we haven’t. But I am responsible for keeping my family healthy and safe…and alive.
I would not throw my children over a bridge to sharks below, I would not push them into a burning building, and I will not send them into a cesspool full of humans carrying who-knows-what during a global pandemic.
Everyone is still wearing a face covering, everywhere you look. It’s surreal. We don’t have face masks for every student, and we would not want that. That compromises safety in a whole other way.
None of us in the entire world, on the whole planet, are able to do the things we planned and hoped right now. We need to accept it. Life has changed.
I heard a woman say, “I did not go to college just so I could walk across a stage.” You will still graduate. Maybe there will be a summer prom. We’ll figure it out. But not right now.
I’m sure high school seniors have not lost touch with any of their friends in this day and age of smartphones and social media. When this is over, you can have your party. Hopefully, all of your friends can make it, and none of them have died from this.
You’re worried that you’re missing out on learning? No, you’re not. But if you are, we will catch everyone up when it’s time. Everyone in the whole world will have to readjust to everything—businesses and billers and GPAs and colleges.
And some of us won’t be here anymore. We have not even reached our peak yet. The state of Illinois announced 1,800 new cases today and 82 deaths, the highest yet for the state. Today.
So I have little concern about some kids not having internet access, or Chromebooks. Food is being provided to any student who needs it. This is about survival, and priorities. Schools have only been mandatory in the United States for about a hundred years.
We need to sit still with our households, and not with anyone else’s household, and wait this out. A couple of months missed of school is not going to harm anyone, and does not begin to touch the harm if thousands upon thousands of households send their kids back together for seven hours, five days a week.
So sit down. Relax. Enjoy the break.
Your kids are safe. You are safe.
Enjoy your child being home right now. Someday, you’ll be crying because you have an empty nest.
It is what it is. Embrace it in whatever way you can. There is no other choice. Life is unpredictable. School will return in a safer time.