We can never set aside the health and wellbeing of children, but somehow that is happening. There is a date on the calendar that signifies the beginning of school. It varies across the country, but it is always the same time of year. As the calendar pages turn closer to that date, the worries about the Delta variant and safe return to school rise. Some districts have already returned and one Tennesee school district began quarantining their students within days of the new year beginning. We know summer camps have been impacted, so now onto schools.
There is an imperfect storm brewing. We have a highly transmissible variant, spreading nationwide as schools are beginning to open. Many states have taken remote learning off the table as an option for students. In addition, we have the group of governors who are gaslighting their residents by pretending that COVID is behind us. Top that off with the anti-vaxxers and anti-masker parents who believe that public health mitigation strategies like wearing masks is akin to child abuse.
I feel this imperfect storm swirling and I want to scream, “Wait, we don’t have to do this! We can hit the pause button and regroup for the health of our children.” I am not suggesting school be postponed, but we have to create a safe environment. Taking away the only tools we have to try to limit exposure to the Delta variant is against everything we have learned about this virus. Once again, it feels like we are playing Russian roulette with our kids and our staff, but this time every chamber of that gun feels loaded…
“Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life.”—Judith Herman