Usually when the last week of August caps off summer, parents are as excited as kids knowing back to school is just around the corner.
This year is much the same, with a different twist.
Most people recognize the necessity of a schedule and organized learning if young people are to become productive members of society. Being regimented and disciplined in terms of knuckling down and tackling work are skills that last a lifetime.
That natural advancement ended quite quickly in March. The onset of COVID-19 closed schools along with many workplaces. It was a period of incredible disruption to families.
Despite high hopes of getting back after a quick shutdown, there was no return to school. And still, after almost six months of pandemic safeguards like physical distancing, there is unease about going back. It is understandable.
Much of the concerns are fed in part by social media, where facts aren’t always facts and fear is spread with impunity. Regrettably, some members of the teaching community have been only too happy to participate in the negative clamour as school boards, the Minister of Education and assorted others tasked with a safe return to school offer up solutions.
This is a time when all parties need to work together rather than simply rail against proposals.
For months now, the medical community and emergency service providers have donned masks and went about their business. Teachers balking at that safety measure or other inconveniences as a justifiable reason for staying out of the classroom this fall is an insult to the men and women who served on the frontline of this COVID-19 pandemic since it started.
Let’s not forget the essential workers either – a good number students themselves – who worked to stock store shelves and ensure access to basic needs for the population at large were met.
From our vantage point, the vast majority of those workers, paid peanuts compared to teachers by the way, heroically met the challenge of serving others with few complaints. They had a job to do and did it. A happy, positive return to school isn’t a much different request.
It is an established fact that much of the fallout of COVID-19 has landed on working moms left to balance home, work and child care needs. Many dads have stepped up, too. For many women though, this has resulted in difficulty with their job and let’s never forget the stress and anxiety that comes with juggling too much all at once.
There are breaking points and it seems to us anyway that returning to some degree of normalcy by getting back to school is good for all. It’s good for the kids, good for families and good for teachers to get back doing their job.
As kids get ready with all the excitement that comes with the first day of school, be sure and catch up on what they will need to be safe, like masks and discussions about expectations.
Make the best of these crazy times and work together.