The Fifth First Day of School

Every year, I write a little something on my daughter’s first day of school. It’s nothing big, just some thoughts and feelings to mark the occasion. This year, my daughter is starting Fourth Grade and I’m more confused than ever before.

School was supposed to start last week, but COVID pushed it back. I have no idea what one week does either way in terms of my kid’s safety or education, but it’s not a big deal. I think they usually start too early anyway. They are starting with a “hybrid” system this year. That means, to reduce exposure risk, half the kids attend school in person each week and half attend virtually. Then, they switch the following week. They want to reassess in October, and keep mentioning the possibility that full-time, in-person school might resume later in the fall.

All summer the school was sending information home about all of the safety precautions they’re taking. I don’t know about other parents, but I found myself getting more worried the more often they reassured me about safety. It’s almost like I was fine just taking them at their word, but they insisted on showing me the proof and the proof seemed shaky to me. I know it’s the opposite of what they were trying for. Hopefully it was just me.

The main thing on my mind as school starts again is that the virus is really exposing that the education system, at all levels, isn’t what we seem to think it is, but nobody wants to talk about it. I don’t know what will come out of that conversation, but we shouldn’t keep avoiding it. The whole nature of school/work is going to change sooner rather than later. We should start preparing.

So, that’s where my mind is on this first day of school in 2020. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy, but I’m not optimistic. I just hope I have more pedestrian concerns next year.

One thought on “The Fifth First Day of School

  1. All of this.

    Although I do not have kids, I’ve seen this same thing elsewhere. An art museum that I will not name has a billion hoops for people to jump through and lists all the things they are doing — taking visitor temps at the door, making galleries one way, shutting down for an hour in the middle of the day to clean — yet when I visited, the workers were not stepping in to enforce limits on the number of people in each gallery, nor were they saying anything to those who were ignoring the one-way signs. It’s like people can say whatever they want on paper, but I want to see actual follow through.

    Good luck to you all with this school year, and I agree about the start dates. Why any school system begins before Labor Day or ends after Memorial Day is beyond me. Quality, not quantity.

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