Sunday, October 18, 2020

Making the Best of the Impossible

 There's no magic bullet to ease our anxiety. There's no certain answer to solve our dilemmas. And no matter how bad things get, they can always get worse.

We just had a positive case in our building. Of course our building doesn't look the way it usually does. More than half of our students are all remote, and most of those who aren't come in once or twice a week. 

It's freaky, and it's scary. But everyone who came into contact with that person is out of the building for two weeks. Is it perfect? Of course it's not. Nothing ever will be.

We have fewer students this year, I'm told, because some parents are pulling their kids from public schools. They're finding private ones that will see them in person five days a week. I'm mystified as to what would make parents find that an acceptable risk. I don't even allow my dog to socialize the way he used to, and my dog adores attention anywhere he can find it.

I'm teaching online, and so far I've only seen two of my students studying from the building. I was surprised to see them there, but I'm glad they managed to catch their classes one way or another. I have a feeling after this week there hapwill be fewer of them choosing to go in. It doesn't really take much. Since they're only going in a few days a week anyway, I'll bet a lot of parents will choose to keep their kids home, and a lot of students, more than before, will simply make that choice for themselves.

That's a net positive, because the fewer people there are in buildings, the less chance there will be to spread the virus. After they send your kid home for two weeks, are you gonna say, what the hell, let's roll the dice again and hope for the best? Will you feel confident in the process, knowing that it appeared toy have worked in this case? Or will you wonder, now that they've tested 20% at random, what the hell is going on with the other 80%?

It's good that we're taking precautions. It's good that we're masked. Everyone wearing a mask is less likely to spread the virus, especially to others who are masked. And distancing helps as well. As freaky as it may be to be in a building now, we were at far worse risk back in February and March, when we were crammed in like sardines. I took an antibody test last spring, and I was absolutely shocked to test negative. 

We had no idea what we were doing back then. I regularly took the subway. I brought a bunch of students to see The Lion King on Broadway. I would never have done that knowing what I know now. Just a few weeks later, Broadway was closed. My students and I were still making the daily trek to the most overcrowded school in New York City. In retropect, it's hard for me to see how the Broadway trip was any more risky than what we were doing day to day.

It's a good time to be kinder than usual to our students. Whatever stress we're feeling, they're surely feeling too. I hope you and your family are well. I hope you can find reserves of happiness somewhere, and I hope you can share them with the kids you serve.

That's about the best we can do right now.

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