Monday, August 17 was originally scheduled as our first day of school, but it has been moved to September 8. Even with the delayed start, there are still issues and concerns. Our District has offered a choice of 100% virtual school or an A-day/B-day schedule wherein students attend face to face twice per week and complete an extended homework assignment on the days they are not face to face. Initially, when the choices were announced, I chose 100% virtual, hands down! By the time the application opened, I felt myself leaning towards face to face. Both of my children wanted face to face, one due to his Advanced Placement coursework and the other because, “Mom, I have to get out of this house!” My husband, a teacher, has resolved that the two courses he teaches, Logistics & Distribution and Mechatronics, cannot be taught virtually. They are hands-on programs that require supervised practice and immediate feedback.
As the start of school is three weeks away, I am not 100% sure I made the right choice for my children. Thinking more, is there a right choice? In June, my older son began football practice Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The coach emphasized the social distancing and face mask rules, explaining that a breach of the rules by any player or any coach, could result in forfeit of the season, not just for their school, but the state. I didn’t think the boys would be able to follow the rules, but they have! As far as I’m aware, there have not been any issues. In mid-July, my younger son began swim practice, and I thought...is this safe? According to the CDC website, properly maintained swimming pool water has been shown to kill the Coronavirus. On deck, they are required to wear face masks and remain 6ft apart. It’s been fine!
I believe that our District officials and School Board members have put a great deal of thought, consideration, and prayer into the options they presented. I know that parents have put a great deal of thought and consideration into the choices they have made. I don’t think there is a right choice, we choose what’s best for our family and circumstances.
I think if the past few months have taught us nothing else, it has taught us that Covid-19, Coronavirus is real - it’s not a hoax, it’s not seasonal, it’s not discriminate. It can hide in asymptomatic individuals, and those who show symptoms can show a range from allergy-like sniffles to dry, hacking cough, the inability to breathe, and worse. We have learned that face masks, social distancing, and hand-washing work to prevent the spread. We have been told this more times than I could possibly count, and it is true. I, personally have seen it with high school football practice, and swim practice. (I don’t know how social distancing is going to work during a football game, but...we’ll see.)
I know that our teachers are nervous, to put it lightly, and I know that some are terrified! It will be a different type of school year. Their planning will look different. It may take longer to learn student names, not seeing them everyday. Those who thrive on little kid hugs, will have to develop their imagination to feel that same love in an air hug from 6ft away. Their back to school attire will also include face masks. I can’t wait to see the “teachery” face masks that are bound to walk the hallways. Behind everyone’s face masks there will be smiles. We will all have to learn that a smile is more than cheeks and teeth, it can be seen in a person’s eyes - and no face mask hides that!
Finally, which is also first and foremost, we must have faith. The Bible says, when I am afraid I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3) As we venture back into the schools, there is fear, but we must develop greater trust than fear. Fear and faith cannot exist together. When we are fearful, we must pray and read the Word that we are reminded that God is good, that He will protect us, and that He loves us with an overwhelming love. We must remain “convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Christians entering the schools should remember that everyone at school -adults and children alike- is not a believer. It is important that we live by the Fruit of the Spirit - everyday, all day - for they will know us by our fruit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25). The Great Commission still stands, we are to make disciples. To do this, we must demonstrate the love, joy, and peace of God. We must demonstrate His forbearance (patience, restraint and tolerance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness no matter which of our buttons gets pushed. It won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile. This year’s back to school will be unlike those of the past, but I pray that we will all avail ourselves to the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us in our every step. Amen.
Happy Back to School!
Wear your face mask, stay safe, sanitized, and stay in the Word!