This week the school district my children are part of voted on a plan for the fall. Kids stay home until November. Then, they revisit the guidelines at that time, evaluate the safety of students and teachers and make a decision. The board meeting was telecast live. I tuned it and listened on and off. What I heard heartened me. I know of other parents who did not feel the way I did.
This back to school thing has been weighing on my mind. If the school had said kids are going back to school in person. I may have had misgivings but I would have sent mine for various reasons, primarily because I trust the school district leadership to do right by the kids and the staff.
Honestly, the decision to let kids stay home is a huge relief. Now though, I am doing mental math on how the next few months are going to look like. How am I going to go back to what we did in Spring i.e., cook, clean, work, parent and educate in the midst of all the other exciting things happening in my life?
As always, the idea of a break from work shimmers at the corners of my brain but I dismiss it before it can take shape. I mull over the idea of hiring someone to spend a few hours with the kids each afternoon to ensure they are all caught up with school work and any homework they are supposed to be working on. I have to wait to see what their average day looks like before making a decision.
Yup. There is loads of privilege involved here.
Amid all the practical concerns about back to school, I feel intensely for the people at the helm tasked with the onerous decision making. The weight of 13k parents is on their heads. No matter what they decide, they are going to get yelled at. They cannot please everyone. I already hear the rumblings in the groups I am part of. I want to write back in all caps, tell them safety first but I realize not everyone has the luxury of working from home. There are essential workers, single parents who now have to scramble for help, find ways to manage so much more with so much less.
The upcoming year will show in stark relief the divide in equity, the fault lines in our society. It will lay bare what we think of when we say individual freedom at all costs. This is trial by fire. Some of us will be burned beyond recognition. Those of us who make it to the other side will be changed, forever.