Pandemic Loops Are Making Us All Crazy
Pandemic Loops Are Making Us All Crazy
A few days ago, a Toronto teen revealed a short film of a day in the life of a high-schooler in a digital-learning model in the midst of a pandemic.
The video, entitled “Numb” focuses in on a teenage girl (Liv McNeil). She sighs, surveys her room, eyes the pictures on her wall of her and her friends during easier times and gets to her daily assignments on her laptop. The tension in the video increases with a time-lapsed montage of McNeil sitting in front of her computer throughout many days of lockdown, with escalating emotions of frustration.
At first it was kind of fine. I thought I had adapted to it and gotten used to it, but I realized I really missed my old life.”-Liv McNeil
McNeil shot the short herself as what she describes as a “coping mechanism” for being on lockdown. An ironic thing happened. This wise teenager realized that once she started doing something (besides the monotony of online learning), she felt productive.
But she still misses and craves the social interaction between her peers which most of our kids are sorely missing after five months. They thought come September, this would be over and they would go back to normal. We parents thought the same thing. But the “new normal” has taken over and it is far from normal. We are in a pandemic loop and it is making us crazy.
After hopes of a small amount of social interaction and in-classroom instruction, the possibility of returning to school, even part-time, was shot down in flames in my state this week.
There are many concerns educators have going back. We know there is not adequate testing right now, there’s not adequate tracing to get this under control. They (educators) have concerns about whether or not school districts are going to be able to procure the necessary PPE equipment to keep themselves safe. And you know, it can’t be ignored that yesterday we had the greatest number of new single day (COVID-19) cases in the state.
I think when we heard from the White House yesterday that science is not going to get in the way of reopening schools- really there’s no words for that. When you pencil out those numbers that’s 14 thousand students across the country who would become very ill or worse, if we were to reopen schools and that’s not acceptable. That’s ludicrous.”-Larry Delaney, President of the Washington Education Association
Spoken from the union president. We have a pandemic. We are concerned about safety of kids and teachers. We care about your child’s education. We care a lot. We care so much that we are going to continue to support and vote in the very people who put us in this pandemic loop. We are going to support the very ideals that are effectively preventing your kids from going back to school in the fall. We are digging our heels in and going against any claims from the CDC (whose pandemic guidelines we conveniently follow when it suits our narrative) and The White House (because Orange Man and Betsy DeVos bad) to prove this point and we are using your children to do this. WEA also cared a lot two years ago where they upheld school start dates for weeks at a time when teachers went on strike.
All of the above is politically-driven and counter-productive to our kids in a pandemic. We want to be productive as a society. Our kids want to be productive-yes-even in a pandemic. My own teenage son, who loves the video games just like any young man his age, has made the observation that he feels psychologically better when he is actively learning something and working out daily. He has been fortunate to have great teachers who do care and who have been engaged and have been trying to adapt to the online learning model. Unfortunately, some students do not experience the same level of engagement and compassion across the board. Or, the child is simply too young to process what is happening. This would have been a completely different story for us years ago when my son was a very active Kindergartener on an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Ever try teaching Kindergarten via ZOOM meeting or keeping a busy kid planted in front of a screen for instruction for hours upon hours on end? Ever try helping the child on an IEP with Occupational Therapy so he can properly grip a pencil and write his ABCs?
Like young and brilliant Liv McNeil, in a pandemic loop, they wake daily. They log onto their platforms to see their assignments and they do them. They ZOOM with their teachers and peers and see familiar faces. They live to tell the tale another day in the pandemic loop. If they are too young to do this on their own, hopefully, they are fortunate enough to have someone in the home that is willing and available to assist them with this process. As adults we do the same thing. We get up, we get ready for work, we read the news, we face-palm a few times, we grab another cup of coffee and get on with it. We read about increasing COVID-19cases in our respective states, panic ensues in community groups on Facebook, political arguments start, name calling commences on Twitter and “protests” in our cities continue nightly while our elected officials encourage rioters, who have no regard for social distancing or the law, to assemble and “protest peacefully” but tell the rest of us that we’re still in the midst of a serious pandemic and to “follow the science”, stay the hell home, mask up, wash our hands or they will shut down businesses. After all, we didn’t follow the rules and, as a result, our kids are not going back to school. Take that. Same $hit sandwich, different day in the pandemic loop of insanity. Mask up and buckle up, buttercup. This pandemic loop-de-loop is stuck in upside-down mode. The kids aren’t the only ones going off the deep end.
Photo Credit: FlickR/Creative Commons/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Cropped