As August creeps along it feels more and more like living in a fan fiction rewrite of the movie Contagion. Anxiety builds and people focus on long-shot hopes of a vaccine even as children and teachers are sent back to school without one. COVID-19 stats are positive enough in our county that my boys will go back to school two days a week starting August 17. I trust the superintendent's numbers and admire the thinking the district has done around safety measures and logistics, but I'm deeply worried. It's hard to know where to put my trust: in my children's behavior? face masks and improved air vents? God?
My youngest son is going to be a freshman. We haven't taken him to school to show him around the campus - we won't even have his schedule until August 12 so will have to wait until then to locate his classrooms. How will he meet people when everyone is wearing a mask? You can't see anyone smile under a mask, though I am all in favor of his wearing one 24/7. During his two days on campus he will have to negotiate lunch and his "off" periods (today's equivalent of study hall), and we are waiting for further instructions on how he should manage those. Choir is one of his electives, but we understand that they can't do choir this year, so what will replace it?
My senior wrestles with the idea of getting back into a schedule, managing deadlines and beginning his college applications. Hardly anything seems real; he even asked me if he should be stressed out or if he should just continue to go with the flow. Not knowing how to feel strikes me as perfectly normal, but from what I recall from my own senior year and from his older sister's, he should definitely be a little more stressed. Not that I want to add any pressure to his already strained life, but you still have to meet deadlines and apply to college on time.
In the face of the 2020 back to school quagmire, we are going camping this weekend. Higher altitude, lower temps, space and distance will all be required to calm our frayed nerves. Hopefully some campfires and toasted marshmallows will soothe our souls and put us in the adventurous mindset we'll need to get back on campus.