This is the first time I’ve written a blog, an article or anything of length since the early summer of 2020. Initially, I just didn’t have time. But lately, it has been more because I have avoided it. When I write, I have to reflect, look inward and think. And, in many respects, I have not wanted to do that over the last 18 months. It may seem silly, but I’ve been angry with Covid, with politicians and even with God. Covid has wreaked havoc on the whole world, but I’ve been angry at how it has wreaked havoc on our little community. We had barely established as a ‘community’ when we moved to a new facility and then started hearing rumors of a deadly virus.
Since then, we have watched the world take on a new crazy appearance. That ‘crazy’ has trickled down to us. Many of us have taken sides – which scientist or doctor are you listening too? Or are we taking political sides? We have had countless discussions on masking, distancing, where to meet, when to meet and IF to meet. Families have left because of masks. Families have left because of no masks. We fill out a weekly health survey that makes us feel that we are living in the ‘Groundhog Day’ movie set. We all thought this would run its course and we’d be back to normal. But we are knocking on the door to two years and possibly surpassing the length of the Spanish Flu in the early 20th century.
In talking with a friend who oversees a private therapeutic school facility, she said “I’m just weary at managing a ‘health facility.’” She nailed it! She wants to be about the business of education. But, even with that, her education practices have changed. The children returned to the classroom ruder and more disrespectful than she had ever seen. I had to agree with her assessment. This year has been like starting over. And, we are STILL in Covid mode.
This year has produced a new crazy and I understand that every school (public, private) is facing the same dilemma. Teachers and staff are doing due diligence in monitoring sick symptoms, but since Covid can present as ALMOST ANYTHING, we need to stay home until more symptoms discount Covid or a test comes up negative. There just aren’t enough people to cover classes, nursery and the offices. We are scrambling many days and, when there is this kind of stress, we are all bound to snap like a rubber band pulled too tightly. Perhaps you have snapped, perhaps you have not. Regardless of which category you are in, we are trying to manage like everything is normal.
But it isn’t. The reality is that we are still frightened of Covid. It doesn’t matter that the Governor has announced that Maryland has reached herd immunity with 85% of citizens (adults) being at least partially vaccinated. It doesn’t matter that many of us have had Covid. It doesn’t matter that some are still wearing masks for protection. It doesn’t matter that the death rate is well below 1% and that therapeutic drugs are available. None of that matters because Covid is constantly changing, adjusting and throwing new curve balls into the mix. And we just don’t know what to do with that. The enemy has poisoned the world with this disease and God has not eradicated it. Yet. Perhaps He will, perhaps He won’t. I don’t pretend to know. What I do know is that I am ‘Covid raw’ and that has appeared in so many ways, but mostly in not loving and caring for staff and teachers well. It has also meant little contact with parents who aren’t in the building regularly.
This is a VERY different world than we walked into several years ago as FEC formed. I confess that I have moved into a ‘keep the train running’ mode to the detriment of relationship and mentoring. Efficiency is the name of the game and that is not serving the FEC community well.
So, I ask you to come on a new journey with me. Let’s take the time to ask questions, listen to people and pray. Once upon a time, I would grab moms in the hallway, have conversations and then pray. There is just no time for that, but THAT HAS TO CHANGE.
And let’s just do our best in the tasks that come our way. We will try to have full coverage for every class. But if we don’t, it’s OK to combine some classes for a day or two. We will try to have all the wonderful specials, but if we don’t have them one day, that is OK. We can all adjust a bit. We will try to get through the WHOLE curriculum, but if we don’t get every chapter done, that, too, will be OK. For those moms and dads who have been covering classes and subbing like crazy, it is OK to say no.
I believe we all have a little bit of ‘Covid Raw’ going on. Let’s talk about it, pray over it and try to link arms as we continue to tackle this school year.