The kid has spent parts of three school years now dealing with Covid-19. I’m not sure “normal” school really has much meaning for him at this point. Though things have sort of settled into, if not a new normal yet, something approximating it.
Of course everything shut down in March 2020. Like many other school districts, they picked up again online with the teachers leading class over video chat. That continued through the first half of the next school year. Physical supplies like textbooks were distributed through curbside pickup with time windows for each grade.
- Early in 2021, as the winter Covid surge was winding down, they switched to a hybrid online/onsite model.
- Half the students were on campus each day, making it easier to distance.
- Temperature checks and symptom/exposure screening questions on arrival.
- Shorter days so students could go home for lunch.
- Masks required for everyone.
The vaccines were slowly rolling out, and at least some of the teachers and staff were able to get vaccinated before general availability.
After a couple of months of alternating, everyone was on campus every day. And somewhere along the line they switched from asking the screening questions onside to having an online form to fill out before arrival so they didn’t have to spend so much time at the start of the school day.
(That’s part of why I’m writing this: I’ve already forgotten parts of the timeline, and I want to get this down before the rest fades into the “what I did during the pandemic” haze.)
By the time the fall 2021 semester started, schools were back to a full schedule, all on-campus. Masks are required indoors, but not outside. Instead of actively screening for symptoms on the way in, they’re asking parents to keep an eye on the kids’ health and just report and keep them home, like we would with any other illness.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical of reopening last winter, especially coming down off of a brutal wave that overwhelmed local hospitals. But it’s been nearly a year that they’ve been back on campus, and while the occasional student or staff member has come down with Covid, none of those cases have led to an outbreak at school.
We’ll see how it holds up to the expected winter surge and Omicron.
Update (January 6): First Week Back
We’re in the expected Omicron-fueled winter surge. The school has been sending out daily “X students and Y staff have tested positive for Covid” reports. District-wide, something like 17% of the students and staff who were able to get tested the day before classes started up again (it’s been hard to get tests) tested positive.
The rapid antigen tests the school district ordered finally came in, and they’re distributing them this week so every student can get tested Sunday before coming to school next week. This is going to be…well, “interesting” really isn’t the right word, is it?