I am so tired, so this will be brief.
Let’s start with the good things.
The children are ready to be back. The teachers are ready to be back. We are all so wanting to be with each other it’s touching and earnest. The students showed up in their cute back to school outfits, their masks on, their bags from Walmart and Target slinging over their wrists filled with Kleenex and glue sticks. They brought snacks and ziplocs and notebooks and erasers and basically everything on their supply lists.
The school ordered them lanyards to attach to their masks, so when they take the mask off, it will be attached to the lanyard. They clipped them on, or needed my help (almost all needed my help. And I had to sanitize in between.) They were willing to do all.of.the.things.
What was hard?
I sanitized my hands four thousand times.
Every time I move from one student to another I have to sanitize myself. Those transitions are sometimes done in seconds. A few seconds with child A, now child B needs me, so I need to sanitize, but now I’m back to child A, and I have to go back to them again and sanitize myself again.
The hardest part of the day was helping them log on to Gmail. I had that as a non-negotiable part of my day, and we had to do it. I wanted them to know how to get to their email, and to Clever, the hub we use to connect to Google Classroom or SeeSaw. If we go remote they will 100% have to be proficient in those tools. It was so hard, and it took 45 minutes. Every.single.click.they.needed.help. I went around the room in a frenzy, sanitizing and helping. It was like the proverbial “chicken with its head cut off.” It was hard. Some kids were wizards and finished quickly, some had no experience with a laptop. It was a great assessment of technology skills.
I AM SO GRATEFUL that we spent hours and hours and hours planning procedures. Every single routine and transition you have in a typical school day in a typical year had to be re-worked. So kids in 3rd grade like mine had to be taught all new things, like how to line up in this weird physically distancing way, how to keep distance from peers in the classroom, hall, bathroom, lines, playground, lunch on the grass. IT WAS SO MUCH. It was hard for teachers. It was super hard for our students.
Really? Today went incredibly well considering the circumstances. It went well for a regular first day in a non-Covid year, so I should give it an A+ for being a first day in a Covid year.
The only caveat is my body feels like I walked Disneyland and California Advenure all in one day, all while wearing a mask in 100 degrees. The only difference…I was in one school, wearing a mask in a 100 degrees. Thank God we have AC, because I would probably lose my mind otherwise.
Now at home writing this my face has this “mask haunting” on, like I’m still wearing it. I guess that’s my life now, along with the additional zits I’m getting in my nose/mouth area from wearing it.