The school cancellation phone call just came. My district has canceled all activities and programs for the next four days, then we begin our scheduled spring break.
Then… It’s hard to say. We have a lot of news cycles to experience between now and the time it concludes.
I didn’t realize how tense I was until I heard the first words of the message. My arms and shoulders immediately felt like I dropped a fifty-pound load.
My son has asthma.
My mom, who has chronic respiratory junk, is in a nursing home- quarantined as of Friday.
It’s been a few weeks of not-panic-but-vigilance– doing my best to take care of everyone, feeling responsibility as heavy as when my son was an infant with life-threatening reflux. I didn’t even walk into a grocery store without the bulb aspirator back then. Not one moment was he away from one. Ever. It was necessary.
This has felt like that. Cleaning. Cleaning. Sanitizing. Watching. Planning. Reading the news. Listening for coughs and wheezes. Then doing it all again the next day. Barely breathing as I walk through nursing home hallways, touching nothing, sanitizing off layers of my skin. My mom, her neighbors– they’re all so fragile. I didn’t want to be the one.
I am concerned for my students who don’t have much– much food, much stability, much support for their emotional needs.
But I still feel good about this choice.
I don’t want us to look back with regret. I want us to look back thinking we did the best we could at the time. Regrets and second-guessing are heavy burdens to carry too.
I feel good about how I left things with my students Friday. We knew this was a possibility, so I told them what I thought they could expect from the school and explained what they could expect from me. I told them I hoped to see them Monday but to take care either way. They submitted a rough draft of an essay, working perhaps the hardest they had on anything all year. We left feeling like we were at a good place to pause, at a place where we would do what we could online, and it would be okay.
They felt reassured- at least about English and about the fact I would do my best for them from my home.
Some were already really stressed because they have family members stuck abroad. Siblings in places of uncertainty. That’s scary.
Stability in the things within my control– that’s all I could offer.
So I did.
I hope they’ll be okay. I hope their relatives will be okay.
Now I can breathe more easily because my son has a better chance to be okay. My mom too.
I hope this choice means we all do.