Do you remember Adam Sandler in Billy Madison?
“Back to school..back to school to prove to dad I’m not a fool….” As he circled around his Bel Air mansion driveway waiting for the little yellow school bus to pick up his twenty something ass…and drop him off to Miss Lippy’s first grade zone of safety.
It has to be one of my favorite movies of all time because the theme and dialogue are so incredibly ridiculous. Nothing real about it…some of the best lines ever in a big screen comedy came from this flick. When I’m in the dumps I think about burning bags of dog poop and Miss Lippy’s interpretive dance, and I pee and laugh a little.
I wish our 2020 return to school could be that funny and that ridiculous. Well, I take back the funny part. It is ridiculous.
Back in June, I reacted and posted all the lovely accommodations put forth by our governor to capture and freeze our children in time, hold them captive by separated desks, plexi glass and masks while they remain in their desks motionless only to get up and use the facilities when their baby bladders just can’t take it anymore. Teachers would rotate around with centrifugal force like planets to each classroom wearing a cross between martian garb, a welder’s mask, and dentist loops. Sounds like the perfect solution to re-socializing our kids who just spent the past five months trying to manipulate zoom meetings, not brushing their teeth or hair and adjusting their earbuds while staring out the window like Grace Kelly in “Rear Window.” Ya, this is the solution.
However, I have noticed schools making up their own scenarios…some by district…private schools with their own plan. What I am so confused about is this…if the guidelines were put forth in black and white, how can you reprint your own menu? Some offering half days, some offering full days, in person. Some offering a hybrid…some offering the pick one method and you can’t go back mode. So, really, what the “F” is going on? Is anybody guiding these schools or is this “and we have a winner!” Or, holy shit, we need tuition funds..who cares if anyone gets sick…let’s lure them back so they pay. I am actually incredibly distressed and angered with these back and forth ideas. WHO HAS THE FINAL SAY? It’s like the “O’Doyles Rule” scene, and then they all fall off the cliff.
If one method isn’t deemed as the way du jour…then whose method will be correct? If children are not really susceptible to this virus, then why the worry? I saw some children donning uniform masks, and it brought me back to a high school world history class when kids were being suited for bomb attacks in WWII.
Is this really ok? Do you expect them to comply? In all honesty, I am not sure what to think.
What are the reasons to send them back? Normacly? Socialization? I don’t find much of either in any plans I have seen. Are we expecting teachers who are the most at risk to police children who start spinning their masks around their fingers like lassos or shooting them across the room like rubber bands? Are we expecting grammar school children to spend robotic periods glued to their chair as if they were sitting on epoxy resin. How real is that?
Do I have the magical cure for school? No. I’m just a 25 year mom veteran. I just think it is so simple…if we cannot eat in a restaurant, go to a movie, a Broadway show, shop to capacity in a mall…then obviously the medical and legal consensus is that society isn’t safe yet.
If the contortions, flipped schedules, hybrids, are being heroically slapped together because “kids need to go back, “ then it obviously isn’t safe to go back. If it were really, safe and ok, and life as normal, then rip off the masks, serve lunch, have gym and recess. And, I am almost certain, someone, be it child, adult, teacher, family member or neighbor of a child in the school will test positive. Now what…isolation, quarantine? Close school again? And, how do you control parents’ integrity if a child is knowingly in contact with a positive person but the kid is asymptomatic…and they don’t tell the powers that be. There are so many dangerous components to this…who are we protecting? The kids, the schools, funding, parents who can’t wait to dump their kids off like an albatross into the sea.
“The selfmoment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.”
― Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
I can make no judgement here, although I can certainly opine. I am lucky enough to be at home with my children, and I feel tremendously for those parents who need to work. But, in my heart of hearts, the ones I know would certainly jump through hoops to rearrange life if they had vacillating thoughts about their kids’ safety in a place where we think our kids are sheltered and comforted in our stead.
So in the end…the right call? Is this really benefiting the children…or are we selling these new fangled cell block ideas to parents like the emperor’s new clothes? And, if I don’t send my child back, and their friends do go back, I am now the guilty parent who held my child back from these illustrious, spacious and protective new digs and their friends. Although I may have known better.
All I can say is, I pray we have all made the right decisions…but in my heart, kids should remain home, properly homeschooled in the true way homeschooling is accomplished until school becomes school. I can’t even go into church for Mass without a “reservation,” yet are kids are walking back into the same building every day. So, I will continue to pray, because nothing is more powerful than prayer, that we have learned, and that even though the mass opinion may be as luring as opium to a drug addict, we choose the path we think is best for our own flesh and blood…the most important commodity we have, and the greatest gift put in our net of safety.
On a lighter note, let’s hope we all become:
for our children.