Monday, August 03, 2020

COVIDiary: The Un-Back to School Season

The late summer cicadas are buzzing and clicking, and even though it's still steamy hot in Atlanta, there's the occasional cooling breeze that promises the glories of autumn to come. Yeah, okay, that's a couple of months away, but still. And there's something in the air besides a cooling breeze. It's usually the smell of new bookbags, notebook paper, pencils, and crayons. New shoes. End of summer haircuts.

Usually. But not this year.

A virus has changed all that. Bookbags aren't needed in a virtual classroom. Neither are new shoes. Pencils, notebook paper, and crayons may come in handy, even if most of the work will be done via computers. End of summer haircuts are probably still in order for all those zoom classes.

But first day of school photos with bright shiny faces, new clothes, bookbags they won't grow into until later in the year, and freshly combed hair won't be happening. The search for the new classrooms and meeting new classmates won't be happening, either.

It's weird. This whole thing is weird. It's this generation's duck-and-cover. JFK assassination. 9-11. Different - they're all different - but something that will shape their lives going forward. And these kids will get through it fine. I'm not so sure about the teachers and parents, but the kids will be fine.

And though I'll miss the first day of school photos, I hope and believe that this pandemic will bring about some long overdue changes - greater appreciation (and remuneration) for educators, sensible affordable healthcare, workable nationwide and statewide plans to handle such unexpected events, and other foundational changes that will benefit generations to come.

All right, all right. Naive. But I can hope. Until then, I'll sharpen some pencils, bury my nose in a box of crayons, listen to the cicadas, and look forward to cooler air and colorful leaves.

We've got this. The kids have got this. Chill.


Liz Hinds said...

Are the children not going back to school? Johnson is determined they will go back here. (unless it's bad for the economy in which they will be sacrificed.)

MaryB said...

Most schools around Atlanta are starting via virtual classrooms, though some private schools have gone in-school (we'll see have that works out for them). Our kids start school virtually on Monday, but the teachers are being so creative - designing cool, cartoony classrooms with instant chalkboards and video players, working in teams, scheduling breaks so students can push away from computers for a few minutes. I'm really impressed. I'll be acting as guide/proctor/facilitator for Liam and Charlotte (and possibly two other classmates of theirs) to ensure they stay on task or help if there's a technical glitch. It won't be forever, but we feel it's way too dangerous to congregate kids/teachers/staff right now. Georgia has a very high rate of cases and deaths because we have a knucklehead for a governor. What can you do, except ensure the safety of those around you? I'm really impressed by how creative the teachers have been in designing new ways of instruction. Fingers crossed, all goes well!