There is a statement I have heard all of my life that goes “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”. It’s an idiom often used to mean close does not count when someone says, “I was close.” It’s in a sense saying, yes, but you still failed. Honestly, it’s a phrase I often used when I was young to point out to my friends and siblings, in essence, they still fell short of the mark.
However, age has taught me that sometimes close is the best you can do…and it’s okay! This week I have been reminded of that once again. We have been saying for months now that we just want to get back to normal. Covid 19 has changed everything. This week my kids started back to school face to face. It has not been like it was last February or the first part of March. We have new rules, new scheduling, masks being worn and less freedom of movement. Families in our district also had an opportunity to sign up their kids to continue their education but from a virtual platform to start the year. We as parents were given options to choose based on what we felt was safest and best for the needs of our individual families.
Before school even started our teachers and leaders worked hard to communicate what to expect. We had time to ready our boys for what to expect and try out different mask options. My son, Tyler, 14, who has Fragile X would not put on a mask but will wear a face shield. Is it a mask? No, but he has done amazing when asked to wear his shield. Austin, my 10-year-old, has not had a problem with the mask but his had to be “cool”. The school has installed over 100 air purifiers in the buildings to help with air quality and they have increased cleaning of all areas. Open house was virtual. Kids who ride the bus now have assigned seats. Lunchroom time is now organized with assigned tables. Everything is different. Will it be enough? Only time will tell, and we have no doubt we will at some time need to adjust.
In Mandt we talk about the importance of trusting relationships built on dignity, respect and honesty that are strengthened over time. I can truly say we trust the people at Dakota Valley School District with the decisions they have made to have our kids return to school. We appreciate the open and honest dialogue along the way and the providing of options for those who still didn’t feel safe to send their kids back just yet. We trust all the safety precautions which have been put in place will increase the safety for the kids and staff in all the buildings.
I can honestly say it does not feel normal. There is still fear, anxiety and worry. However, watching my kids light up the past couple days about being able to once again see their friends and have a predictable schedule has been amazing. We are social creatures and no amount of technology can ever replace the feeling of being in the same room with a person who you like, love and trust. Is it normal? No. Is it ideal? No. Is it what I hoped my kids school experience would be like? Absolutely not. But…it’s close. It’s close enough to count!!
Tim Geels – SVP Corporate Instruction & Implementation