Students, staff and teachers head back to school next week and it’s fair to say we’re all hoping that this year can offer some degree of normalcy after three years of schooling in a pandemic.
That’s not to suggest that COVID is not still part of our lives and that people are not getting sick, being hospitalized and dying from the virus because they are. State health and education officials suggest we’re in the endemic phase of the COVID pandemic and that it should be possible for schools to operate almost the way they did before March 2020.
In March 2020 our schools went remote with blistering speed and efficiency and remained that way until the end of the year. That fall school opened with a hybrid model that had kids in school in cohorts two days a week, all remote one day a week and remote in their cohorts two days a week. Students gradually returned to full time in fall 2021. The 2021-22 school year featured vaccines, but also a lot of staff and student absences due to COVID. Thankfully, graduation happened in person as did prom and school sports returned in full.
Cue the 2022-23 school year and COVID as endemic. Per state guidance, school nurses will manage illnesses, COVID and other ailments, administering COVID tests as needed. Presumably the state is continuing to make these tests available to school districts.
We know that students, staff and teachers have suffered and struggled during the last three years with students in particular losing ground in their social and emotional wellness.
Here’s hoping that this year kids can work on recovering some of the ground lost since 2020. Here’s hoping for a great school year full of excellent athletics, academics, concerts, school plays, art shows and more.
Here’s hoping that the worst thing that happens this year is blizzards and ice storms and here’s hoping that the new energy of a new superintendent will foster recovery and progress as the school year begins.