Editorís Notebook: As the School year approaches, we all have tough decisions to make

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

As you read this, I am sitting at home recovering from ankle surgery, however, I wrote this a week ago on the morning after the Mountain Home School Board voted on re-opening plans. I am supposed to be focusing on recovery and not on work, but all morning I have sat here wanting the chance to reach out to the parents, teachers, staff, administration and school board of our local district.

In the past few weeks, months really, we have all faced great uncertainty in the education of our communityís youth. What will the school year look like? Should I send my child to regular school? Is this situation going to effect my job, am I going to have to choose between my role as a parent and my career? Will my child keep a mask on during the school day? Are all the new regulations and restrictions in the school building going to scare them? Should I just have my Kindergartner wait an extra year before starting school?

These are questions I have asked in my role of editor/ informer to the public and as a mother of an elementary age student. Until recently we were unsure of what ďnormalĒ school would even look like and now it appears that even if that is the route that one chooses, adjustments are still going to have to be made to oneís schedule. Some of us are going to have very understanding colleagues, but are still going to struggle financially and professionally. Others are not going to have understanding bosses and their jobs might be on the line. Some of us will choose to hire tutors or other individuals to help fill the gaps in their childrenís education. Some of us wonít be able to afford that option.

For those of us who do choose to send our children back to school there is the added worry of the child being exposed while at school causing parents to be forced to quarantine at home for 14 days. In some cases of small businesses where social distancing isnít always the easiest, a childís exposure could subsequently cause the whole business to close for two weeks.

There are so many elements and different scenarios to take into consideration and none of them are reassuring. At this point my husband and I are still trying to wrap our heads around it all and what it means for our own family and our careers. I know many of you are as well.

I really donít have any answers of the right way to do things, but I will say that in whatever decision you make for you and yours, good job, I know it could not have been an easy decision to make. I know it wonít be an easy decision for any of us.

Please during this frustrating time remember that our local school officials, teachers and other staff are as worried and unsure of what to do next as all of us are. They are concerned about their own families and about the students of the community and the consequences these decisions will have on education and our town. Please just take the time to be nice and to be understanding of the difficult decisions we all are making as the new school year quickly approaches.

Good luck to everyone in what is bound to be a crazy school year.