A Tough Decision

What is your county or district’s current status on schools reopening for fall?

#fcps #coronavirusjhuedu #susanstrasser #amwriting

We’d registered the kids for Y summer camps for most of the summer. Liam was so excited to go back to Adventure Camp for the 5-and-under crew one more time, and Harriet was loving the idea of her first sleep away camp.

Remember Governor Hogan’s phrase, “flatten the curve”? Well, June came and went, and we’re still waiting for the statistics to plateau.. Check out the graphs at: America Is Reopening. But have we flattened the curve?

My husband told me about this John Hopkins University (JHU) website/tool a few months ago. Scientists research then provide clear graphs of every state in the U.S. and their daily number of confirmed new cases of Coronavirus.

So we look at our data and our neighboring states:  Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania (as of Thursday, 7/16) :

MD:  635 new cases per day

VA:  952 new cases per day

D.C.: 59 new cases per day

PA: 825 new cases per day

No one is flatlining. The zig-zag pattern of COVID-19’s increases and decreases in cases is unmistakable and disheartening.  

So we’re going to risk just one week of camps in mid-August, and call it a summer (and thank God again for our pool!) 

Now like a lot of parents, we’re looking ahead, staring down a full school year for two young children in our first pandemic. School is a different league than summer camps. And this upcoming 2020-2021 school year has a totally different vibe than when kids were sent home this past Spring. At least this past year, my kids had established a relationship for more than half a year with the teacher that they’d gotten to know, in person, like it’s always been. 

We live in Frederick County, MD, and our school is currently entertaining a hybrid model for return of the school year, and it breaks my heart to not participate in it. Basically, they break the school population in half, and half the school comes in on a Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday the building is closed for cleaning, and then the other half attends Thursday and Friday. I would love to have my kids go and they would, too. But

we’re not. We’ve warned my daughter and said already that she probably won’t go. Definitely don’t want her to get her hopes up.

I hate having to choose my children’s physical health and survival over socialization, but we are. 

There is no “shot” yet for Coronavirus or COVID-19. It hasn’t even been around for a year! How could I even consider letting my kids be in a building with hundreds— okay, maybe 250 people vs. 500 people— on the hybrid model when there is a fatal disease in my county, state and country that currently has no vaccine or treatment? 

Then, of course, I return to my 12 step program slogans, such as One Day at a Time or Just for Today. I have to, because we’re talking the rest of 2020 and well into 2021 with my being the homeschool teacher of my kids again! 

But we’re lucky. Because I’m furloughed indefinitely and receiving unemployment insurance, I can be a stay-at-home Mom (SAHM) comfortably. Or at least for the rest of 2020. And having been a former teacher, I’m comfortable with homeschooling. But a lot of parents are not this lucky. They may not have the background, time or confidence to teach their kids. I am the “on duty” parent most of the day. My husband telecommutes from his desk here at home. 

One season at a time, one month at a time, one week at a time, we parents can do this.  


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