I Have No Idea How To Feel About Maine Kids Returning to School
The talk of the state has been, "What is the 2020/2021 school year going to look like?"
The Department of education came up with a color-coded way of categorizing schools by risk.
Green means low risk for spreading COVID-19 and that they could hold in-person classes. Red means high risk and that they have to do remote learning. Yellow was a hybrid of the two as reported by WGME.
On Friday, the Maine Department of Education announced that schools in all of Maine's 16 counties are considered to be in the green low-risk category.
Yay! I think? Honestly, I don't know.
I was personally surprised as I assumed that Cumberland and perhaps Androscoggin counties would at least get yellow, but then I thought, even the "worst" counties in Maine for the virus are much better than other parts of the country.
Now, here's the thing. I don't have kids, And my niece and nephew aren't in school yet. I don't have a horse in this race but even if I did, I'm not entirely sure how I would feel about this and the idea of sending a little one to school.
If you think about it, not only are they exposed to their classmates and teachers, but all of the people they come in contact with as well. And, of course, we all know kids are gross little buggers.
It appears that the guidelines for in-person learning are a lot like what adults have to do in the real world. There will be symptom screenings, physical distancing requirements, mask requirements, and of course good hand hygiene. The full rules can be read here.
Since I don't personally have kids my first thought is for the teachers and how awful this is going to be for them. I can't imagine being a teacher, especially to younger kids trying to keep them apart and trying to make sure they keep their masks on all while trying to get them to learn. Alternatively, I can't imagine teaching them online, full time, or part-time.
And what about the teachers of special needs kids? The kids that need routine, and extra help. How does one navigate that?
I think about the parents. The parents whose kids go to a school that opts for hybrid learning and now may have to quit their jobs to be home with their kids for at-home learning. I wonder what employers will do and how much flexibility we'll see.
I wish I knew the "right" answers to all of these questions. If sending kids back full time or part-time is the way to go. No matter what it just feels like it's not good enough but I have no alternatives to suggest.
These are unprecedented times and I do not envy any of the decision-makers including the Department of Education, the school administrators, and the parents.
Do you have any personal insight? Let us know on the app.