Note to the reader: Today’s call to slice was preceded by these two questions: What are the moments you are holding onto? and What are you letting go of today? I was upset while I was writing my slice but when I read these two questions I was able to calm down. I realized that I am in control of how I respond to problematic situations, in this case school re-entry in the fall. My blog post starts with anger and disbelief and ends with the only thing that will sustain me moving forward: HOPE
The province of Alberta had previously announced that on August 1st it would make public the school re-entry plan for the fall. Like most school boards and school districts in North America, the province was exploring three different scenarios: “near normal” in-school return, a hybrid approach, and remote schooling.
Many of us had been waiting with bated breath to hear the final plans for school re-entry.
So, it should come as no surprise that the Ministry opted for scenario #1 given its openly hostile relationship to education.
It should come as no surprise that there are hardly any provisions to ensure that everyone stay as healthy as possible.
It should come as no surprise that the Minister of Education dodged the question about class size limits for the fall.
It should come as no surprise that this announcement comes on the heels of a spike in COVID-19 cases in our province and in other provinces in Canada.
It should come as no surprise that during the press conference teachers and other school staff were hardly mentioned in the re-entry plans.
In fact, it should come as no surprise that the province’s re-entry plan is really NO plan at all. (The lack of detail was a glaring and worrisome piece in the re-entry plan.)
It should come as no surprise that school staff will be responsible for monitoring student and staff symptoms. (No one know which staff this refers to exactly.)
It should come as no surprise that disinfecting surfaces will be done by…who knows?
It should come as no surprise that the press was told they couldn’t do any follow-up questions even though they tried.
It should come as no surprise that when asked what would happen if parents chose not to send their children to school the Premier spoke of “truancy laws” (“we have them”) and “homeschooling” (Alberta has an extensive home schooled population).
It should come as no surprise that many teachers are angry at not being heard or consulted about the school re-entry plan.
It should come as no surprise that I am feeling a little anxious and concerned.
I need to redirect my anger so I can channel it for my well-being, that of my family and for the sake of my students and their families.
I am hopeful – because what else can I be? – that my school board will provide more direction and specific guidelines than what we heard today from the Ministry of Education.
I am hopeful because my school board has a reputation of being upstanding and compassionate with teachers, students, parents and the community.
I am hopeful because, if not, I will fall into despair; I can’t let that happen so close to having come out of a very dark hole of depression.
I am hopeful.
Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge.