Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Back to School

Lauren started her senior year down at Local Businessman High today.

Classes haven’t started officially, but today is the day that they bring the freshmen in and have them get used to the place.  There’s a select group of upperclassmen who serve as guides and mentors, and Lauren and some of the Squad are part of that.  It’s a nice honor.

Even in a normal year this would have been a strange day.  She was supposed to have spent all last year abroad and would be walking into LBHS for the first time since June 2019 with that experience under her belt.  There would have been some reacclimating. 

But it’s not a normal year.  It’s a plague year.  Lauren’s stay abroad was cut short in March and everything went virtual after that.  She’s been in a couple of times, mostly to collect drums.  It’s still the first time she’s walked into LBHS since June 2019 for actual school, though.

They gave us the choice of how to start the school year, and after much discussion we let her go back in person.  She’s almost of legal age to make these decisions without our input anyway, and she really wanted to see her friends face to face.  There is a mask mandate in Wisconsin (finally) and even if there are plenty of assholes who think their minor inconvenience is enough grounds to try to infect other people with a deadly disease the fact is that she’s been working all summer and this isn’t much different.

Oliver goes back to Small Liberal Arts College on Friday, and that’s pretty much the argument he made as well.  He wants to see his friends.  He doesn’t want to go fully online until he has to.  If he stays home to do online he will likely just take a gap year and work, and really how different is that from just going to school in the first place?  So off to SLAC we go.

We know this won’t last.  The United States has not done the hard work it needed to do in order to open the schools safely, and there is an entire political party and movement that is actively dedicated to making things worse – they’re in charge of the country now, in case you haven’t noticed.  We could have stopped this last spring, if Americans had shown any discipline, any sense of community, any respect for science and reality.  Many of us did.  But in a nation this populous, having even 2% of the population as screaming psychopathic idiots means we have more idiots than there are people in Ireland and with that kind of critical mass the idiots will win. 

Down at Home Campus we’re technically open face-to-face but only about half of the classes are having any face-to-face time at all and maybe 20% are fully so with no online component whatsoever.  On social media the median over/under on going fully virtual is somewhere around the 21st – I haven’t seen anyone propose a date later than October 1.  Some people are suggesting next week.  We'll see.

It’s a strange time.

You want what’s best for your children.  You want them educated so they can succeed in a world where most jobs likely to support a family in more than a paycheck-to-paycheck way require a college degree.  You want them healthy in a world that is dedicated to making them not so.  You want them sane in a world that isn’t geared for that.

There aren’t any good choices here, so we’ll move forward and see how it goes.

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