This hallway should be filled with students…going to the gym, going to the cafeteria, going to class, laughing, arguing, silent, thoughtful, stressed…and it’s quiet today. There have been other times when we’ve been in school without students but this…this feels strange. Because we know they are supposed to be here and they’re not. Because we know we won’t see them again for weeks or longer. Because there is so much we don’t know.
Students messaged me with questions at midnight after Governor Whitmer’s announcement. Do we come to school on Friday? Will there be busses? What about online school? What do we do about the SAT? Will we have to go to school in the summer?
Teachers asked questions this morning in our staff meeting. How will we figure out grades? What if we don’t know how to use Google Classroom? What about students who don’t have access to the internet? Will we have to go to school in the summer?
We all have a lot of questions right now and we’re looking for answers. But there aren’t a lot of answers yet. This is new to everyone. And it’s not just us. Four states closed their public schools yesterday. Across the country, workplaces are closing, events are canceled or postponed. You can’t even watch the college basketball playoffs. Our usual routines are disrupted. So we have questions.
But there aren’t many answers. Some things are out of our control and other people will make decisions that affect us.
But we have the power to make some decisions.
First, limit your contact with people as much as you can. Remember what we talked about in class on Thursday? Social quarantine is necessary so we don’t overwhelm the medical system with a huge number of sick people. This doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with anyone. My mother’s senior residence complex has closed to visitors except for those “essential for your emotional well-being” which is a wonderful way to think about it.
Second, wash your hands and try not to touch your face.
Third, be kind to each other. This is all very stressful for everyone. If you can be a bit more patient and a bit more understanding with those around you, this is all going to be much easier for all of us.
Fourth, think about how you can help. There are students in our district that won’t receive free breakfast and lunch anymore and that could be a problem for them. Some households don’t have internet access. I don’t know what sort of support we have in place yet but if I know the people in Dearborn, we will have some supports in place soon. So if you know of someone who needs help and you aren’t sure how to help them, send me a note and we’ll figure it out.
Fifth, read a book! Do some math! Read the news and think! Keep that brain working. And check your school email regularly for information from your teachers about online assignments. Because none of us want to go to school in the summer, right?
We don’t have all the answers yet. Until we do we’re all just going to try to do the best we can.