My daughter, Joni, is principal of a large suburban middle school. Here is her Feb 6 note about how it is a her school during this year of Covid-19. Her sister, my daughter, 45, has recently been diagnosed as positive for Covid-19.
“[Our sister/daughter] continues to only have mild symptoms, but my personal school experiences with this virus keeps me cautiously optimistic. I’m the one that has to send out “the letter” to and follow up with families and staff when there’s been an exposure, so I know there is no “normal” in who will be just fine , who develops symptoms or their severity, who will be hospitalized, and who will live. I’ve had no reported student or staff deaths at my school of just about 1100, but there have been many grandparents and extended family members and a few parents and siblings who have passed. I manage those communications as well, as no one need to get an attendance call or “Joey hasn’t been doing his work” call when they’re dealing a health crisis or planning a funeral.
From the school perspective, there are so many changes. Classroom and bus seating charts and tracking attendance has become a non-negotiable as we have to know who gets a high-risk exposure (= quarantine and get a test) letter vs. low-risk exposure (= monitor for symptoms but can still attend work/school) letter and don’t miss someone. We seem to have the system down now which is helpful as we plan to reopen with a hybrid model on 2/16. Basically we’ll be at 50% capacity with teachers supporting students in person and from home.
The stress is palpable among my staff, and I am doing my best to shield them from the “not good enough” message that plays in the background all the time. My focus has definitely shifted from providing instructional leadership to anticipating and managing the day to day. Everyone is tired of “this”, and “this” is different for everyone. I’m reminded of that daily.
If you stuck all the way to the end of my reply, I’m sorry for the unrequested verbal vomit and thank you for listening. I promise future replies will focus on Heather’s Heath (or at least stick to the point!) My best to you all!”
My response (Dad): For sure, try not to consider your thoughts/feelings to be “verbal vomit”!
America’s deadliest war by far was the America’s Civil War.