Should We Be Going Back to School Yet?

One Mom’s Perspective

By Jenna Shelton

Like all of you, I sat at home with bated breath, waiting to find out what Lewis and Clark would be allowing for the Fall 2020 school year. I can tell you that I am insanely proud of how this college, its students, staff, and faculty have handled this pandemic, especially in a time in which L&C was going through the process of interviewing and selecting a new President. 

I couldn’t agree more with the plans that have been put into motion for a great number of students to remain in a virtual/distance learning scenario with only those who absolutely have to be on campus for a hands-on course such as the nursing program or those that require lab hours. 

I know that if I have to be on campus, I will feel very secure in the knowledge that our school has done its very best to ensure that my risk of contracting COVID is very low as long as I follow precautions put into place.

What I am not pleased with is the idea that my teen daughter, who is starting high school next week will be at more risk than I, since she goes to one of the only schools in the area that has not chosen to be completely remote/distance learning. Of course, I have for YEARS told my daughter about how great high school will be.

The opportunity to control your class schedule with courses that actually interest you were just too good to be true. Along with a huge choice of clubs and groups, the opportunity to experience and learn and grow has been the mantra we have told her all through middle school. With a rough middle school/junior high experience, she has been incredibly excited to become a high schooler. 

Since her school gave the option of a hybrid half in-person half online choice or the option of all online, as much as I wanted to immediately say “ONLINE”, I couldn’t make that choice by myself. I try to teach my daughter to make choices and stick to it, whatever happens, take responsibility for the choices you make and deal with the repercussions, and ALWAYS know that I am here to help or talk. 

After reviewing the plans in place for the hybrid learning option with my daughter and a long talk about my concerns, she decided she wanted to try the hybrid option, which allows her to go to school for just over five hours only two days a week and remote learning the other three days in the week. They even broke it down so that students with last names A-L alternate with students with the last name K-Z, so there will be even fewer students in attendance at once, with all students learning from home on Fridays.

As much as I wanted to just say, “Nope, you are doing 100% remote learning”, something she said made me stop and reconsider. She told me that no matter what we do going forward, things are changed forever and she cannot live her entire life in fear of contracting a virus. At the same time, she said that she also cannot just act like everything hasn’t changed and is aware that changes have to be made to get back to some kind of normal.

The precautions her school has put in place give me some kind of comfort but what really comforts me is the fact that I have raised a daughter that is conscious of the fact that we need to follow these precautions to try to lessen the risk of exposure. Thankfully her cousin, who is in the same last name bracket, is a junior and recently got his driver’s license and will be able to take her to and from school on the two days; this calms my nerves about her being stuck on a bus with someone who hasn’t had their temperature checked yet since as of this moment they are only checking temperatures before coming in the school building and not when they get on the school bus.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that they will have exposure within the first week and within the first month, they will be going completely virtual as influenza season kicks in. I truly hope that is not the case but schools that started throughout the country only two weeks ago already have over 2000+ students in quarantine, it shows that we just are not ready to be back completely unless we absolutely have to. I just hope that my daughter or her two cousins that also go to this school will maintain their precautions and will not come down with it.

Please stay safe, stay home unless you have to go out, wear a mask, and keep your distance from others!!

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