When You Close Schools at a Thousand Cases and Reopen at 1.7 Million

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4 mins read

I haven’t had any major event to mourn, since this all started. I didn’t miss a wedding or a party. I didn’t have concert tickets purchased or a big vacation booked. So I sympathized with people who were mourning these losses but I couldn’t really empathize. But now I am in mourning. Like a full on, can’t get it out of my head, crying sporadically mourning period.

The state screwed us. The people in this state screwed us. My kids have done EVERYTHING I have asked of them since Spring Break. Wearing masks, skipping playdates, constant hand washing, locked in the house…all of it. We did everything we were supposed to do with one big huge reward on the horizon: school returning in the Fall. And we have been screwed out of that by the people who didn’t listen or believe or follow the rules.

This year was going to be a HUGE deal for my kids. The 9 year old needs his friends. He misses art class so much. He was getting an amazing new teacher this year! A teacher who took the time to “meet” the kids on Zoom so they could get to know one another and talk about all the wonderful things they would do this year. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t start a sentence with, “When we go back I’m going to tell my friends….!”.

The 5 year old was going to enter school for the first time ever. Y’all have no idea the work that went into getting him ready for this. Neurotypical kids maybe don’t have to pour blood, sweat, and tears into school readiness, but some other kids do. Some kids work ridiculously hard through therapy and exercises and major preparations to get them ready.

My kids have been excited about school for months, and they will be crushed when I tell them they can’t go back. That the entire state will be out of hospital beds in the next 1-2 weeks, and our numbers are surging higher every day. And I cannot justify sending them back in the middle of a pandemic surge. Look, some people have no choice. Some people do have a choice and have made peace with the risks they are taking (and asking the teachers to take). I’m not here to debate that or rag on anyone for their choices right now. Believe me when I say, I’m completely out of fight, right now.

My sons did everything they were asked to do, and countless grown-ups failed them. If everyone had been doing what we have since March, everyone would be so much safer right now, and maybe school starting up wouldn’t be so scary. But they didn’t. They failed us. They failed the kids. And the teachers. And the healthcare folks. And the janitorial folks. They screwed us. And I’m absolutely mourning this loss for my sweet boys, right now.

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Jenn writes deeply personal, occasionally humorous pieces, from her home, deep in the heart of Texas. A stay at home parent and budding bleeding-heart activist, she seeks to inspire the quiet ones to find their voices, by way of equal parts sarcasm and compassion.

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