Social Distancing Week 18…Choosing Okay

Friday, June 17, 2020…10:03am

The end of week 18. If COVID-19 were a person, he/she/they would now be considered a legal adult. Ironic if you consider the fact that so much of the trouble and angst around life/economy/schools/churches reopening feels a whole heck of lot like there is not an adult in the room. Or at least like many adults are making decisions with the maturity of impulsive toddlers on a bad day and the maturity of self centered teenagers on a worse day.

Just saying.

Our school board approved the possibility of getting students back into physical classrooms this week. Note that I said they approved the POSSIBILITY. That means that there isa plan in place to allow campuses to be open at about 50% of capacity at a time in the future when it is safe to do so. That does not mean that campuses will open on August 26th when the new school year begins. That decision will be made on August 3rd by the school board – or it could be taken out of their hands this afternoon since our governor announced yesterday that he will be making an announcement about school openings today. My hunch is that his announcement will be that it is not safe to return kids to physical classrooms.

It’s a deeply complicated and nuanced situation. There are no clear cut right answers. In fact the choices are basically between bad and worse – and no matter what happens some section of the population is bound to be pissed off. I think that the problem lies within the word “possibility”. As a society, we don’t tend to have the ability to hold space for the unknown of possibility. Americans tend to want probability or definitiveness and in this liminal space created by COVID-19 we do not have enough information or control to get to probability or definitiveness. Being forced to live in a space of possibility where the choices about how/when/if school campuses will reopen is frustrating for everybody involved. Sadly that seems to be bringing out the ugly in some people. (See above for what I said about adults acting like impulsive toddlers or self centered teenagers.)

I have not gone more than 30 minutes this week without the topic of school coming up. Our district has asked parents to choose between either a blended model (50/50 on campus and at home WHEN campuses can open) and a fully distant model by July 20th. The clock is ticking and for lots of different reasons many families still aren’t sure what they will choose. I get that. The decisions are between bad and bad. But they are the choices we have and that is not going to change anytime soon. I know that there are administrators, teachers, staff and parents who have worked tirelessly to put together the best possible plan for our students. It does not look like a typical school year plan because it is not a typical school year. They have done the best they can in a world where we have to learn to live in a place of possibility rather than probability or definitiveness. I will be eternally thankful for all of their hard work, lost sleep, and singular focus on doing they best they can for our kids in this super weird point in time.

We are choosing the “blended” model, but have told our kids to assume school will begin online next month. In fact they may be online for the entire year. We don’t know. Nobody knows. We are choosing to be okay with that. There’s a bit of peace in an otherwise chaotic world that comes from choosing to be okay living in the space of possibility.

Be well my friends.

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