Zooms and masks and distance, oh my.

This is my children’s last week of school. They last stepped foot in their school March 13, and who knows when they will return.

School districts everywhere are scrambling to try to figure out what “school” will look like in the fall. Springfield released an initial outline last week, which included a rotating schedule for students to be in school as well as learning remotely. There’s talk in every district of masks and desks being 6 feet apart and sanitizer everywhere and eating lunch in classrooms. Some have speculated that school buildings may be closed all of the next school year. Some folks are talking about not going back until the spring when the spike of a second wave of COVID-19 would be winding down, maybe.

Westfield Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski sent a letter to families last week with an update on planning for the 20-21 and 21-22 school years with the hope that an actual plan will be in place in mid-July.

Right now, no one knows what will happen for the return of school. As I prepared my kids March 13 that they would not likely return to school this year, I’m telling them there’s a real possibility they will not return this fall.

And I don’t know how all us working parents will do it. How will people who cannot work from home manage juggling their workload, helping children navigate academics and keep their emotional and mental health as well as possible, doing dishes and laundry and making three meals a day? And let’s not forget about the 2,371 snacks kids want when home all day!

As my family nears the finish line of learning at home for the past three months, I can safely say that I cannot imagine doing this again in the fall.

I speak for so many parents I know that this last quarter was definitely a throw-away. The first two weeks felt like vacation, then as it became more real that we would not be returning and “real” assignments began being emailed weekly and daily, my children had to learn how to learn from home.

I know I’m their mom and all, but my kids are both very smart. They can do work a grade level ahead and they both enjoy school. Although my son was happy to be home, trying to keep up with the minimal assignments he received was a struggle. He needs to be in a classroom. He needs reminders to stay on task. He needs to interact with his teachers and peers.

My daughter did not struggle to complete tasks, but she struggled with being stuck at home. She has come to hate zoom and all things online (well, other than her favorite YouTube crafters and artists). She misses her friends and teachers and being around people. She also misses being challenged academically because she found online assignments were too easy.

They had two completely different experiences in the same household and the same school. And we can’t do this again.

I have always appreciated teachers, especially after working in a school for a short time. It is exhausting. And rewarding. But after this experience, I feel even more that teachers are lifesavers!

My husband has been teaching his students from home, so I see his struggle to motivate them and keep them on track digitally.

I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t envy those who have to make these decisions because, as with everything, there will be some folks very happy and some very angry, no matter what school looks like next year. So let’s all take a deep breath and know that we have experts working on behalf of our children doing the best they can with the resources we have.

To Top