Wright School Part III

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

So, our family was doing OK in 2020 despite so many challenges. We were thankful to be healthy and excited about even the possibility of a vaccine. Root Elementary was a godsend. We not only were blessed with a great teacher, but the principal was fantastic as well. He said he was from Vance County, I mentioned working on Leandro, and it was all good from there. Wright School had to completely close for a while and rethink how they were going to operate as a non-residential school.

Going back in person in the late fall of 2020 was a difficult choice. I had to weigh my kiddo’s mental health and physical health risks. I kept trying to find compromises. It was made more difficult by a county flipping how contained classrooms were going to run last minute. We also faced a district that just wasn’t really wanting to be flexible which in many ways is still true. We didn’t actually get back in the classroom to almost Thanksgiving. I also made my own compromise. We would do lunch at home and the rest of the day virtual. Since the teacher was doing hybrid anyway, it was the best solution to a difficult problem. First and foremost most outbreaks at school were happening during times when folks weren’t wearing masks, like at lunch. Second, kiddo wasn’t able to tolerate looking/seeing/smelling other people’s food. IEP to the rescue and we had a plan to get kiddo at least partially back to normal.

In the summer of 2020 into the fall I was working hard to advocate for disability students in person opportunities, while still maintaining a very high level of safety. Around October, Wright School called. There was an opening. It was at this point running as a day school. A long day school with the school day ending around 6PM. I had a tough decision to make. Everyone I knew who loved the Wright School praised what they did in the evening program. The evening program wasn’t operating during Covid. I also wondered how tough going back and forth for a long day of school and essentially an after school program. We had a new plan for the start of in-person school, but we hadn’t yet seen if it was going to work. Going from total virtual into a very long full day seemed like a big change.

Ultimately, our family decided to wait till the school was back to full residential. It was a scary tough decision. I think having such a wonderful team at Root Elementary really helped. In the winter of 2020, I felt like we still needed healing time and growth. He was doing both and I wasn’t sure of anything at the moment. So we waited.

A year later, in November I got a phone call that my child had a spot. They were up and running the residential program now. The tour was amazing. Safety was so key and a school run by DHHS didn’t disappoint. Vaccinated kids shared rooms with vaccinated kids. Masks were serious business there. Lots of air movement and school wide protocols. My kiddo had a slot in January and my husband and I were excited for the opportunity. Now to convince the kid.

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