And back in at school full-time…well….4 days a week, full time, anyway.
After a year of being at home I forgot what it’s like to have to get dressed every day. Like fully dressed, not just dressed from the waist up and in pajamas on the bottom.
It’s also nice, though.
But, first things first, let’s fill in some details for those that don’t follow me on Instagram (where I share a lot more things regularly).
I did mention awhile back that the entire state of Maryland was “ordered” to return to in-person learning in some capacity by our Governor back in the beginning of February. My superintendent did everything in her power to delay and stop this because our county was hit the hardest and, even as of today, still has the highest amount of active Covid cases in the state.
For what it’s worth; I know everyone has opinions on whether school should have always been opened, distance learning, etc – I’m not here to debate that today. If you want to have an open-minded discussion, I’m down, but if not, please don’t leave the hate here.
So while she wasn’t allowed to put a full stop to it, she most definitely did her best to delay the inevitable for as long as possible. We are the last district to return to in-person learning in any capacity (as far as I know) and, actually, most of our families are okay with it.
Our students will be returning at the beginning of April, after spring break for 2 days of in-person learning and 3 days of online learning – so it’s a hybrid model. Students/families were given the option of whether they wanted to come to the building or whether they wanted to remain home for the rest of the year. Out of our school of 2300 students, we have about 375 students returning to the building after spring break.
Sooooooo…it’s not a lot. It’s also pretty much the average for our county – we don’t have a lot of students who are ready/able to return at this point. Which is fine, we want our kids safe.
To prepare for the students to come back, all the faculty had to return in the middle of March to begin teaching from their classrooms instead of from their homes. We did have a few teachers who were able to stay home due to health conditions, which is good. I know it’s causing some logistical headaches, but again safe is better.
The first day back for faculty was March 17th and it was…..bittersweet in a lot of ways. Our last day together was March 13th the year prior, so it had literally been 369 days since we had all coexisted in the same building. We had some new faculty members this year, who hadn’t ever been in the building yet, so one of our admins gave a socially distanced tour for all of our new faculty that morning. Our administration also tried to “soften the blow” by having “goody bags” for everyone that included a Bluetooth headset (which considering how close our offices are, is lovely for Zoom meetings).
But, there was this energy in the building that I can’t even fully describe. You all know I’ve gone in on random days throughout the year at home and all I can remember is hearing how quiet the building was; it was almost eerie. But suddenly the hallways were loud, everyone was greeting each other (from afar), our principal even put up a photo booth in the front lobby for those who wanted to commemorate the time back.
And there was angst and apprehension and fear. As exciting as it was to feel “normal”, you could also feel the fear in everyone. No one got too close, some just stayed retreated into the comfort of their classrooms. You also had the jokesters of the building who would loudly remind those who “congregated” that doing so was frowned upon now.
Plus, everyone is wearing masks and using all the hand sanitizer and Microban we could find every five seconds.
But we were all back together.
In my department, it’s like we never skipped a beat. Yes, we have two different counselors than we did when we left last year, but we don’t have all the weird transition stuff to deal with because we basically did all of that virtually already. Within an hour we were already back to yelling random things to each other from our respective offices and had our offices all set up like we’ve been there all year.
I’m not going to pretend like I’m not nervous about students returning, but, like with my coworkers, it’ll be nice to hear their voices in the building again.
It feels normal. It’s not…don’t get me wrong, but it feels like it when I’m in my office and I hear everyone around me.
And it’s really nice.
Though, I will admit, I’m not the biggest fan of waking up at 5:30am again, though….
We also don’t have access to our normal fridge/faculty room area, so I’m trying to figure out lunches that don’t require me to heat up anything (if ya’ll have ideas, I’m open)….
And I’m starting to have to fill up my car with gas like once a week again! I legit went 2 months, at one point, between fill-ups. #insanity
But, despite my anxieties, I am happy to be back in school and I’m hopeful that we will be able to feel more “normal” next school year.