It’s 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning. I am sitting at my desk in the school nurse’s office, checking my work email, and finishing my green tumbler of tea from home.
Normally, I would unlock the cupboards and grab the medication binder used to track when students come for their meds, but I won’t be needing that today. Next, I would check my mini fridge’s freezer to make sure I have a stock of ice packs ready to go before recess; I won’t be needing those today either.
It is 8:45, and usually, the breakfast gang would burst through the front door right about now– laughing and half-running down the hall to hurriedly eat their meal before the bell rings. But it’s calm today.
This is the present reality–our new normal–a school without students. It’s eerie, quiet, and sad.
The library is extra silent today. A room full of books with nobody to read them. A playground of equipment sits idle in the sunshine. There’s no dirt in the halls from muddy boots to be swept up. No scraped knees, headaches, or tummy aches to tend to.
Whiteboards, computers, and projector screens are blank and lifeless. Tiny chairs are flipped up onto empty desks.
I can’t speak for the teachers, but I can only imagine their pain. Six months invested into the lives, minds, and hearts of twenty to thirty children- halted with a moment’s notice. How frustrated and helpless they must feel.
Some of the students are no doubt enjoying their extended break, but others are possibly stuck at home in less than ideal situations as school was their only stability in life. My heart hurts for them.
I know we will all get through this, and it will be ok. My fear in the beginning was that this would indeed become our new normal permanently- that all students would be moved to virtual learning and brick-and-mortar schools would be abandoned.
That’s not ideal, folks. We are social creatures. We learn more from each other than what can be read in books! Children learn manners, how to share and be kind, how to cooperate, and how to be part of a society bigger than their homes. (Don’t get me wrong, I am all for socialized homeschooling. My own children are in a homeschool co-op.)
I will be so thankful when this too shall pass. I am ready to be reunited with those smiling, little faces. Our children need their school, and we staff need our students.