There Is No Reason For Children Not To Be Back in School This Fall
Of all the stresses and traumas of the pandemic, from the senseless deaths to the political cruelty to the way it pitted neighbor against neighbor and American against Americans in just the dumbest possible way, I must say that the most difficult aspect of it in the Leitch family was how it affected school. We were fortunate in that way: We lost no one close to us, and the small number of people we knew who contracted Covid-19 were able to recover from it without major illness or complications. It could have been so much worse, and was, for millions of Americans. For millions of people across the planet, it still is worse. It is still going.
But for our family, missing school was the hardest part. My children were in the second grade and kindergarten when the pandemic hit, perhaps the worst possible time to suddenly be pulled out of school. The academic effects were profound — it will be decades until we can truly calculate what we lost — but the social aspects were what hurt the most. My sons, like surely millions of others, went from happy, social children who loved nothing more than running around with their friends all day to sullen, scared kids who stared at a screen all day and saw no one but the terrified, exhausted parents they were stuck in a house with all day and all night. I’ve often said I almost wished the pandemic would have happened five years earlier or 10 years later. To be pulled away from other children, and the basic building blocks of school and learning, at that age was truly horrible. It is the most stressful thing my family has ever gone through.
I’m pleased, and eternally grateful, that my kids are hanging in there: They’re still the loving goofballs they were through all of this. That’s partly because they’re awesome, but also because, like many schools around the country, theirs finally opened to in-person learning for the last few months of the school year. This was still too late — every piece of evidence has argued for schools being open as far back as last summer — and we had to fight hard to get our schools open here in Clarke County, Georgia. It was immensely frustrating to see skeptics, ostensibly like-minded, well-meaning people who would…