School has been out since Wednesday, as Tuesday had the last classes. I've taken time from work to help keep the kids engaged. The weather sucks.
We do have to make a decision about the return to school. The kids return to virtual school next Monday, but on the 19th (after MLK day), the little returns for his in-person half-day classes, and on 1 Feb, the bigger can return to full days in-person, if we choose.
We have been conservative in our handling of the virus. We took some outside dining excursions, and I road-tripped with a pal, but aside from a literal handful of events, we've been separating and isolating all year. We know some people who know some people who have had losses from the virus, but we only directly know one person with a positive test result, and he only lost his sense of smell for a wild week. The numbers are such that if the direction wasn't to stay home, I wouldn't even think about it. I know the virus spread is slower because collectively we've been separating enough.
I hesitate because we have had those experiences where the return to school means a new bout of sniffles and colds tearing through the house. Whatever little germ factories the individual kids are exposed to, it becomes a collective sharing for everyone. I know it's anecdotal, different germs, and without the precautions and measures the school is taking to help curb this, but it is real.
Still, evidently the studies show that masses of children aren't being the spreading circles that they are feared to be. The cases of school-related spread seem to be around sporting events, where it's either the close-contact and heavy-breathing student athletes, or the mobs of shouting, possibly less-distanced parents around them. Our kids aren't in schools with sports yet.
We sided with the teachers. If they felt comfortable, and their representation at the (seemingly nightly) school board meetings get the right precautions, we'll return to school for the older.
We're still more comfortable with the boy's school setting. There hasn't been a reported case in any family for any student at his school, where there's also a larger sized day care. There are only eight kids in his class. They don't interact with other classes, although they do share a bathroom with another class. They were encouraging, but not requiring masks, and will now require all-day masks. They were keeping the kids apart, and washing hands regularly, and the other precautions. The only two changes they have are that the masks are going to be required, and teachers will also wear face shields.
The daughter's class had been hybrid before the recent return to virtual. Three groups of kids, one virtual all the time, like ours. Another group went to school Monday and Tuesday, and were virtual the rest of the week. The third group went to school Thursday and Friday, and were virtual the rest of the week. They are going to all return at once. They will still require masks and separation. The kids needing special services or different classes will receive them in the classroom, with their teachers moving instead of the students walking down the halls. The teachers, when possible, will be separated from the students with a transparent shield. The school has improved all of the room ventilation and filtration as much as possible, and will continue to maintain a higher level of clean. School lunches are available, but we'll send lunch as ours tends to not eat the school offering. Kids will still need to make their way to school directly, as no buses are running, as I recall.
We're a little excited to try to get this little win back. We're still apprehensive. With the vaccines seeming to be flowing, and no apparent disease contraction by a vaccinated person making the news, it looks like better times ahead. Still, we're not likely to have vaccines become available during the rest of the school year.
We have a month before the change. We can always opt out of in-person school. We can't opt into it later if we opt out now, though. So we're going to go with the teachers, and send our littles back to school. With masks. And strict care instructions.
Everyone is healthy.