For Marshfield (OnFocus) – By Kimberly Maher – We are there, having crossed over the threshold from the vacating of school, to quarantine in homes. In some way, everyone has lost out since the March 13 school closing: a loss of sports, dances, and graduation events.
Now we sit, patiently waiting to see how the school year of 20-21 will look; holding our breath in anticipation of what the new educational world will be. For one, I envisioned students marching down the hall 6 ft. apart, dressed in hazmat suits. I heard through the rumor mill that parents assumed children would be sitting in plastic cubicles for 7-hour days, lunch given by long sticks, allowing one-bathroom break.
Glad to say, the wait is over, and the letters are out. Schools, for the most part, will be going on as usual. Yes, some concessions are in place. Generally speaking, the precautionary measures seem minimal compared to the preliminary measures envisioned. Here is a glimpse of what schools may look like according to the recent letters sent out by our local schools:
Maintain space between students as much as possible, avoiding large groups, limit materials going back and forth from home to school, more frequent cleaning, and disinfecting in schools, especially hot points. As for the hazmat suit envisioned by me, well, that is not going to happen; however, teachers and adults in some schools may require to wear face masks.
The best part of the new plan is the preparation put in place for another localized outbreak of the pandemic. Schools are now ready for their plan B, moving over to virtual or off-site learning. As for the busses, the news reads they are still going to run. However, they will do disinfecting and washing after each run. Schools ask families to do their part, stay home if you or your child feel sick, practice hand-washing, make sure your children are current on their vaccinations, and continue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
I have found a silver lining to this quarantine pandemic; after all, if we must live in the pandemic world, we must make the most of it. When family comes to visit, we put chairs outside, distancing them far apart. This seemed a shallow way to visit, however, I soon found out the opposite. Without the interference of television or computers, we engaged in conversation; an old-fashioned art of giving and taking ideas and thoughts.
Another great lesson I learned in Wood County: we have the best school administrators and teachers. These folks stepped up to the plate and transitioned a brick and mortar curriculum to virtual and a home study when the pandemic first hit. They have all worked tirelessly since, in a continuum of finding ways to bring normalcy back to our children at the beginning of the 20-21 school year.
I hasten to use clichés; however, we are all in this together. Schools more than ever need parent involvement, and suggestions. These times are ever changing and what is in the news for today may change in August. Parents must do their due diligence and stay abreast of the pandemic news; continue to watch your children’s school for further updates.
Kimberly Maher is an academic writer and global teacher. She has lived in Wood County with her husband and their 12 children for the last 21-years. She has currently completed her MA in education through Franciscan. University, and hopes to continue her work in linguistic teaching and writing.
This is a contributed piece from our freelance team! We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!