The term free-for-all, defined as a “chaotic situation lacking rules or structure,” jumped into my mind as I tried to describe what it feels like to prepare for the upcoming school year. As I look around at school districts in my state and across the country, the one common denominator is the abject lack of data-driven COVID policies. We have reached a consensus of “whatever.” But you see, “whatever” is not a policy, it is literally giving up on safety. It is giving into a bully culture where whichever group screams and tantrums the loudest gets heard.
Remember how we slammed the door on the 2021-2022 school year, by far our most complex and challenging one? We are about to welcome our students back for 2022-2023 with added concerns and fewer health and safety protocols in place. In the mix of all of this is a much more transmissible COVID variant, BA.5, very low vaccination and booster rates for all of our students, masking has disappeared and contact tracing was dropped in most districts. I have yet to mention monkeypox and polio. Let’s not forget the disappearing school nursing workforce coupled with an increase in mental health concerns.
I do not want to be all doom and gloom, but I will also not buy into toxic positivity. We have challenges friends, big ones. This brings me back to my goal of setting healthy boundaries for this coming school year. In fact, this is more needed now than ever before. I began by NOT working this summer without being paid. That line in the sand while initially hard to draw has proven to be effective and healing. Our well-being is not negotiable, it must be our highest priority! Later in August, I will share a list of healthy boundaries that I have been collecting from readers. If you have any to add, please leave a comment in this post or email me at email@example.com.
Here are some questions for my readers.
- What is happening in your school districts in terms of COVID preparation?
- Do you feel prepared for the onslaught of the unknown?
- Has your district included you in reopening planning meetings?
- Do you have clear COVID guidelines that are data-driven?
- What have you done for yourself this summer to reboot and refresh?
- What supports do you need and how will you obtain them?
I appreciate each and every one of you and welcome your feedback and comments. Hearing from you fuels my energy to keep writing! Thank you for your support, kind comments, and thoughtful reflections. The Relentless School Nurse celebrated its 5th birthday this summer! We will get through this next school year, but only as a community of school nurses who set healthy boundaries and lean on each other for support and encouragement.