School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: ‘Closing Time’ on the 2020-2021 School Year

 

I was wracking my brain trying to come up with words to explain what it means to end this school year. But instead, I am sharing the 1998 song “Closing Time” by Semisonic. This one line keeps playing over in my mind; “Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” I was questioning what it meant for this school year to come to an end and what will the new beginning of the 2021-2022 school year look like? The more I thought through this question and reviewed this impossible school year, the more I realized that maybe what I am really asking is it actually my closing time as a school nurse. I know that I am not alone in these thoughts, but the big question remains will actions follow.

School years often blur together when you have had many of them. 2019-2020 started off strong and then pivoted abruptly as COVID gripped the nation in mid-March of 2020. The summer was spent entrenched in planning for the 2020-2021 school year with more unknowns than absolutes. For my under-resourced but urban-rich school district that meant we were to remain in remote learning through most of the school year. Our start date changed several times as safety and staffing seemed insurmountable. Finally, in April we began to bring students back to buildings. It was like walking a COVID tightrope every single day. We managed to successfully re-enter classrooms, but only with a small percentage of students. Many families chose to continue in remote learning because safety is not guaranteed. We were not able to resume high school classes. 

It is closing time for this very long and challenging school year. It has taken its toll on our students, staff, families, and communities. The collective trauma of COVID has yet to be understood, but it continues to unfold. We see an uptick in domestic violence, gun violence, and general incivility in our country. It will take a massive effort on behalf of an already depleted school staff not to have this negativity seep into our classrooms. My thoughts always return to safety, that fleeting sense of well-being that we strive to provide in school. The school nurses’ office has always been considered a safe space, a refuge for some from the stressors of the school day.

This brings me back to the beginning of this blog, is it my personal closing time as a school nurse? I am balancing my own well-being and bandwidth versus dedication to my chosen profession. The summer of 2021 is a welcome respite from the intensity of the past 15 months and my plan is to take the time and space to think deeply about my next steps. The first line of ‘Closing Time’ is calling me…

Closing time, open all the doors                                                                                                            And let you out into the world

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Closing time, open all the doors
And let you out into the world
Closing time, turn all of the lights on
Over every boy and every girl
 
Closing time, one last call for alcohol
So, finish your whiskey or beer
Closing time, you don’t have to go home
But you can’t stay here
 
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
Take me home
 
Closing time, time for you to go out
To the places you will be from
Closing time, this room won’t be open
Till your brothers or your sisters come
 
So, gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time, every new beginning
Comes from some other beginning’s end, yeah
 
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
Take me home
 
Closing time, time for you to go out
To the places you will be from
 
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
Take me home
 
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
Take me home
 
Closing time, every new beginning
Comes from some other beginning’s end
 
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Dan Wilson
Closing Time lyrics © Wb Music Corp.

 

 

 

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