Last March as this pandemic began, the private school where my wife taught kindergarten closed for a couple of weeks. Even as public schools remained closed, the child center made the decision to reopen. Because the school provides childcare for nearby hospital workers, the school received a state waiver to remain open. While most other public and private school teachers isolated at home and taught online, no such option was offered at the school where my wife taught. That was when she decided not to go back and retired from teaching.
This action not difficult to understand, unless you are someone who has been self-blinded into denial. Her retirement was a serious decision. She loved teaching and it certainly impacted our financial outlook. For us, it was the right and logical choice. Thousands of teachers have made that decision across the country. We believed that the pandemic would get worse, and the latest news confirms it will get worse before it gets better. Plus, pile on additional potential hazards at the school where she taught. The school is very small and it’s difficult for staff to avoid one another as they come and go from their classrooms and care centers. Some of these children have parents who work on the front line caring for Covid-19 patients. More unpredictable was supervising children at age 5 and younger who may or may not comply with keeping masks on their faces. Teachers often deal with discipline problems on a daily basis.
Despite daily temperature and health checks for children and staff, this past week we received word that at least one employee of the school has contracted Covid-19. Six rooms in the school were closed initially, and all staff members are being tested. Additional staff and children may be infected, plus the families of those kids and staff may be at risk, and everyone else who come into contact. Whether or not this is part of the Thanksgiving surge, we may never know.
It’s heartbreaking that schools and education everywhere are being affected this way, but it’s reality. This will all pass, and there is light at the end of a dark tunnel now that a vaccine is on the way. Hopefully, by Ground Hog Day, we’ll emerge from our borrows and not see our shadows, so to speak. In the meanwhile, we hope you have a safe and cozy holiday season.
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