I can't help but feel that the Covid-19 epidemic is underrepresented in the daylogs. So here's an update on what's been going on with me.
After a panicky shutdown in March, the schools opened with lots of fancy modifications in August. First, students all got devices so that they could work from home, and students were given the option of being 100% remote students. Many families took this option, requiring that the school not only dedicate some teachers to remote classes (easily planned for), but that special education staff figure out how to split their caseloads without dedicated remote teachers. This has been a logistical nightmare, but was significantly lightened (and made more frustrating) by the number of parents who decided that 'remote school' meant 'no school', but didn't want to mess with the paperwork to officially home school.
Then students who did want to come face-to-face were split into A week and B week; on their off week, they were remote students. Many parents decided that off-weeks were school-free weeks.
Then the school day was shortened by about two hours. This was done in part because teachers needed the extra planning time to make video lessons for their off-week students, who did not get a designated remote teacher for their off weeks. Also, this means all the special ed and teletherapy sessions had a time slot that existed and was protected, which was nice... but not long enough.
So then we got virtual Mondays, which is just a nice way of saying school is optional on Mondays, and will be held over Zoom.
Then we eliminated A and B weeks, so all kids who did come to school came both weeks. At the same time, social distancing requirements were reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet, on the theory that the virus had suddenly gotten much lazier.
And maybe all of that should be a footnote, because lord knows it's not interesting, but that brings us up to this last week, when the number of identified Covid-19 cases in the school suddenly bounced up (from three the week before to 15), and the number of cases of "oh it's just allergies" went through the roof.
Which brings us to my non-news: on Wednesday last week, my student intern spent all day working with kids, and I spent all day also working with those same kids. On Thursday she, being way more responsible than the average school employee, noted that she had some mild symptoms and got tested. As you may have guessed, she tested positive. That evening I got a call from the principal letting me know, and asking me for a list of all the students we had worked with. Since we had done a bunch of screenings, I had to go to the school and pull all the names, the principal then had to call all the parents of kids who were deemed an exposure risk, and that was that.
Well, not quite; obviously, the intern is on sick leave. I got tested and it came back negative. No kids showed clear symptoms, so were not required to be tested, so weren't. While the parents were notified, none of the kids' teachers (or classmates) were.
This is a bit worrying, as a handful of kids were noted, by me, to be comparatively high risk of exposure (and therefore, also high risk of being the source of the infection), as they have a lot of trouble keeping their masks on. One of those kids I had to do an assessment with on Friday, during which he sneezed, coughed, and left disturbingly sticky hand-prints on the plexiglass barrier the school has provided us for exactly this reason. He has no fever, so he's officially not a Covid concern.
I have since been working with -- and sometimes fixing the masks of -- kids who were out for a day because they had the sniffles, kids who put everything to their face, kids who refuse to wear masks (autism is not a pandemic friendly condition), and kids who touch their mask constantly... and teachers who think that noses are optional mask real estate, and believe that you can't catch Covid from someone you like (and of course they like their kids!), and teachers -- college educated, Covid-trained, full-grown, and (presumably) human teachers -- who think that it is acceptable to pull down their mask and lean in specifically when they are talking to you, as long as they pull the masks back up quickly afterwards.
I am torn between being convinced that I will catch Covid, because how could I not, in this environment, and being convinced that actually, humans don't understand the
germ theory of disease transmission miasmas and I will be the only one not to catch Covid, because I do.
We are somewhere close to one year into this pandemic, and America is entering what is being called the 'third wave', in which more people than ever are learning that they are not as hygienic as they imagined. We are, again, hitting record numbers of new cases, the hospitals are, again, being overwhelmed with people needing ICU ventilators, and many people are, still, ignoring even the most minimal safety guidelines -- the minimal guidelines being all the government is willing to suggest.
The good news is, social distancing means more time for reading, noding, and cooking, and I wasn't emotionally invested in those 300,000,000 Americans who don't understand germs, anyway.