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School Dazed

School Dazed


So they say the new school year is about to start, but what the F does that mean?

I know we’re inching closer towards the start of another school year, but what this school year is going to look like is anybody’s guess. 

I was just talking to a teacher, a professor I should say, of criminal justice, at a local college in Winona, Minn., and he described to me a very horrific, yet real scenario. 

In a year where Minnesota cops are under scrutiny like never before, and all eyes are on them, he might have to resort to teaching criminal justice students virtually — no in-class tutorials — no simulations to test their guile, their abilities, or their aptitude. How could this be worse?

On a very personal level, my son is starting 10th grade at a local high school, and he’s going — back in the classroom that is. 

We cannot have him here anymore, and I know sympathy can be felt for me because I see all of your posts on Facebook, lamenting how desperately we need these kids out of the house.

What is school going to look like for my son? 

It’s going to look a lot different, behind Plexiglas, with tape in between him and other students, teachers probably wearing face shields or full hazmat suits, and an array of rules and regulations sure to stifle even the most rambunctious of spirits.

Like the rest of us, I wish we didn’t have to keep talking about what an incredible cluster-F this whole situation is. 

The COVID virus, the pending election of two octogenarians, the loss of a regular social scene for us as parents, and them as children, and a complete lack of understanding about what this coming school year is going to look like. 

Will we even get to keep our kids in class — if we’re lucky enough to be in a district that allows them in class — for very long?

As recently as this week, high-level academic institutions — Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina — have had to suspend in-person classes because of outbreaks of the virus. 

These are institutions that have testing capabilities, and resources in which to educate their students, who are all older than school children enrolled in local high schools, elementaries or junior high, and they still can’t stop the spread. 

If they can’t stop it, are we really feeling confident that our local schools will be able to? 

This is the predicament for that criminal justice teacher I was talking about, who was told specifically, what we’re doing today, may, and probably won’t be what we do in three weeks. That is daunting.

Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but we really need some leadership here. 

We need to figure out some way, somehow, that we are going to be able to restore a sense of normalcy. 

The more stops and starts we have, the more half-hearted attempts, ill-fated, three-quarter attempts, and lobs up against the wall in a hydroxychloroquine sort of a fashion, we’re going to be doomed. 

Think about what this last six months has been like, and then tell yourself we got to do this for another 18 months. How many of us personally, or businesses, or institutions, will be able to last? I don’t think we want to find out!

To conclude my daily rant, I just want to say, I have no idea what the correct answer is. I have ideas. But how valid are they? They’re not more valid than those of professionals and doctors and scientists, who study and work on issues like these all the time. 

All I can say is that with my kid going back to school, with your kid(s) maybe going back to school, and with a bunch of criminal justice majors staring down the pike at virtual learning, we really need to get this figured out.

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