Usually, summer is a welcome change. A more free form schedule, not having to get up at 5 AM, being able to do things that I don’t normally have time to do during the school year… it’s usually the least stressful time of the year. Cue 2020 when the world is upside down, and the stress of the unknown is weighing heavily on teachers, school staff, parents and students alike. What will September look like? Will we be able to see our students in person? Will the school staff be kept safe? Will our teaching schedules and our kids’ schedules match up? How are we going to teach both in person and online? Are the schools going to update their ventilation systems and clean properly when we are facing down huge budget cuts?
So many questions. So few answers. My daughters are to begin preschool in the fall as well. A school that we painstakingly researched, visited and picked based on the fit for our family. We have been paying for their tuition in installments now for several months. But are we going to get what we are paying for? They also plan to open, but how do you social distance with two year olds? They are not doing extended care, so how will my husband or I , as working parents, be available to drop them off and pick them up at the appointed times, that might be sometime during our work day? How will our daughters feel comfortable going to a new space in a building we used to visit every week, but now haven’t seen in several months? Will this bring out their separation anxiety? Will this whole situation bring out my own separation anxiety?
I have been trying and trying not to think about all of these things constantly. However, with the mayor’s announcement this morning ( https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/08/nyregion/nyc-schools-reopening-plan.html) , all of this is now swirling through my head. And, I’m sure, many of my fellow teachers and parents as well. I do think that some kind of hybrid model is best, at least for my students, because I was struggling to connect with my students through the screen this spring. I think we need to see each other in person sometimes for there to be that connection, relationship and accountability that is sorely lacking when students feel like they’re sending assignments into outer space (of course, I graded and commented on everything, but you know…). i just think that leaving the choices up to the individual schools is a choice that presents many different difficulties that the politicians are not accounting for. Hopefully, our union will.