Editorial by Allie Reardon
All over the country, children are preparing to dive into the unknown, and some are already knee-deep in the new territory of learning during this pandemic, especially in Meade County. With school starting in around a week and the third change to our Start Plan being made less than a week ago, things are more unclear than they ever have been with school. I understand and respect the effort that our district is going to in order to keep students safe, and to respect the wishes of our governor, but I also understand the frustration and stress this is putting on the students, parents, and teachers of our district right now. With the switch to a virtual NTI for the students who had signed up for traditional school coming a little under a week out from school starting, Meade county is put in a tight spot.
Students are frustrated and upset that we will have to wait to see our peers in person until after Fall Break, if we’re even able to resume that early! Students with busy home lives who wanted to choose traditional school so they would have a structured learning environment so they could focus easier are once again stuck in their house and will have to work around various distractions, potentially hindering their schoolwork and harming their grades, not to mention extracurriculars or classes like band and choir! How are things like choir and band going to work with this virtual start? As far as I can tell, they aren’t. It's virtual assignments, which are not what these students signed up for. Clubs and non-sport extracurriculars are also in a limbo of uncertainty. How are these things going to function? I understand that clubs and classes like band and choir aren't a priority right now for the administrators or the district, but they're a priority for many students, and this virtual start is going to affect that for them.
Teachers are put in a spot of having to alter the traditional learning plans they had prepared for the first nine weeks to be completely virtual, and teachers who are parents to school-age children are going to have to figure out how to take care of their kids and their students' education at the same time now. Moreover, teaching to an online class and teaching to a physical class are two very different things. Making sure your students are paying attention and helping the students who need it get ten times harder with this virtual start. Teachers whose only experience teaching online was the end of the last school year are now being thrust into this year and expected to teach fully virtual classes with their limited experience in it. The stress these educators are under just went from bad to worse.
Parents are suddenly thrown into a place of having to re-plan and reconsider everything. For parents, the virtual start means their children will be at home, and for some this will be no problem. But, this creates issues with parents who have to leave their house for work and have to leave their children. These parents now need to find a place where their students can be cared for while they're away, or they need to find a way to do their job from home. Unfortunately for some, neither of these are options they can afford, leaving them at a crossroads they can’t seem to cross. That’s not to say that parents who work from home have it any better. They are now going to have to cope with doing their job and helping their students with school, or even just trying to keep them focused on their schoolwork. And, with the whole family being on the internet, especially in the further out rural areas of the county, there are bound to be issues.
Personally, however, I just feel scared and out of control. The Uncertainty mentioned above is surely getting to me. I don’t know how this is going to work. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do the things I love this year, and it scares me. I worry about my friends, my family, my teachers, and everyone else around me going into the new school year, this new type of school! I just want to go back to normal, but I know that what I considered normal is more than likely not what I would be returning to when we (possibly) start traditional school back. But, wanting these things and being scared by the uncertainty of the situation does not mean I don’t understand that these changes are for the safety of myself and the people around me. That understanding that the county has my best interests at heart helps me deal with each new change, even if I feel out of control and frightened of the unknown.