I just got the email, cohort C in track 3. My son has a date to go back to school in person. I’m worried. My worries aren’t just about Covid though, my son was struggling in school long before the virus started. He had an unmet IEP and ended up on Home Hospital. My son has felt trauma in school for years. Now he will go back in an unprecedented situation.
Deciding to let my child go back was not easy. I had to think about my child’s physical health and his mental health. I had to think about my capacity to be an aid to his online learning. Would I do him more harm than good? Would school in this Covid world be the wrong place? What services would he miss out on if I kept him home?
The decision wasn’t made easy for families either. There was confusion over what the plan would be in the beginning. One plan was cancelled another implemented. For us it came down to what plan would we most likely keep a consistent teacher. My son needs someone he trusts most all. We started that trust process in Home Hospital and followed through the spring and now fall in a virtual setting. If we had to change teachers, I’m not sure how we’d begin to navigate this mess. We decided let the child follow the teacher rather than a plan. The teacher is plan B so that is us too.
I was never a big fan of going back once our county’s numbers began to rise, and I began to hear our teachers felt they didn’t have the PPE to keep them safe. I advocated for all sorts of scenarios that would get in-person help to those in need, but limit exposure time. I really tried everything I knew how to do. I feel in some ways I failed. The plan to go back isn’t the one I would have chosen. Yet it is the best plan I have for my child right now.
I’m putting an incredible amount of trust in a system I know to be broken. I have the data. I know the deficits we face in the amount personnel it takes to run a system as large as Wake County NC. I know the failings from our state government and impact that has on our most vulnerable students. I am trusting that the staff who recommended the opening of our regional classrooms know what they’re doing.
Not only do I know how impossible running a school in North Carolina is at this moment, but I also know on the flip side. My kid can’t change teachers after all the trauma of last year. I can’t homeschool, I’m not a teacher. I’m not the type of person who can homeschool and lesson plan many subjects. If it was a History class, no problem. I’m perfectly qualified, but that is just one subject. My son needs directions broken down and help with executive functioning. He needs to be challenged without triggering his anxiety. Its a tall order for any teacher. I need help and that is what I’m hoping this reopening plan will do, help.
So, my challenge to Wake County Schools is simple, protect my child. If you in any way have doubts. If you in any ways can’t secure enough staff. If the PPE money isn’t what you need, reverse course and go back to the drawing board. We’ll be angry, but we’ll be safe. In the meantime, I live in hope that my child will emerge out of this better than he started.