As I am sure you all are, I am anxious about the world right now. We are living in a time like no other in recent memory. Businesses closing, schools closing, everything….closing.
Yesterday at the end of the day, I turned off my computer and work and was told to unplug it. I carried out my office plants and put them in my car. I couldn’t help but fear hot stinging tears. These people are my family. They are my 8am coffee club. They are my bitchy sidekick when the days are bad. And I don’t know when I am going to see them.
I work for a school. An Alternative Education school, to be more specific. Our population of students are the ones with higher needs, academically, mental health wise, behavior wise. These kids mostly do not have security at home. They don’t have food or resources. For some of them, their only hot meal came from School. It’s the only place an adult cared for them and about them. Where they got the mental health services they need. One of the worst things about the situation is, that when they all left on Friday, we all said good-bye with a ‘See you Monday.” A promise from us to them that no matter how bad the weekend is at home, they are safe here. We didn’t get to say good-bye. Or send home bags of food. Or clothes. We had no idea we wouldn’t see them for at least a month. Maybe longer.
I 100% understand the reasoning behind closing schools. To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I just wish we had the chance to talk to the students about it, prepare them for a shutdown, have emergency measures in place for if they are desperate. But we didn’t have that time.
Yesterday, our school send out over 600 packets to homes of our students, including our Career and Tech students. With some review work and listing of resources. We live in an area where distance learning isn’t an option. Most of our students don’t have computers or internet at home. They barely have electricity. So there is no Google classroom. There are just some papers sent in the mail so they can try to keep their minds sharp. Admittedly, most of our students won’t do the work. Some won’t even open the envelopes. But we made the effort.
For me, I am already missing work family and friends. During 9 months out of the year we are as thick as thieves. Sharing jokes, cheering each other on, offering shoulders to lean on. We are each others person. From 8am until 3pm we are all in the same fight. And to be abruptly have the taken away, is unsettling. We have a Facebook groups we talk to each other on, but it’s not the same.
The uncertainty of it all is the worst. Will we be back in a month? Two months? By the end of the semester?
Luckily, we work for an incredible employer who is paying us while we are off. This might be the only saving grace of this dark time. We can survive it because we still have income. I feel horrible for those who displaced without pay. (My son is a dishwasher in a upper classish restaurant. He is out of work until further notice. He lives with me, so he is going to be fine).
In the meantime, keep your loved ones close. Avoid crowded places. Keep yourself safe. The world has changed and we have to change with it. Right now, we just don’t know how much we have to to change. And that is the most scary part.