School Has To Be In Person For MY Mental Health

If My Kids Can’t Go Back To School This Fall, I Am Going To Freak Out

Mother helping teenager with homework
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OMG…these kids need to go back to fuckin’ school this fall. I don’t know about you, but if they don’t, I will freak out! And I am willing to do whatever it takes. If that means wearing masks? GREAT! If that means doing handstands under the full moon? DONE! Let’s all just do what we need to do to get our kiddos back to school as safely as we can in this never ending pandemic, please god! 

When summer break started, it really looked like we were on our way back to normal. But things aren’t looking so great anymore, and I can feel my anxiety rising with every Covid news story. The truth is it’s a damn miracle I made it through the last school year with my sanity intact. It took weekly therapy appointments, daily (sometimes hourly) prayers, and lots of comfort food. Now I can finally see the light at the end of this dark tunnel of spending 17 months with my kids almost 24/7, and I can’t go back. 

Don’t get me wrong … I love my kids! But good grief, I can’t do this again. If school gets canceled again, I would seriously consider checking myself into a facility with a therapist on-call 24/7. Before somebody goes and gets their panties in a wad, I need you to know I am dead-ass serious about that. And I know I am not the only parent hanging onto their sanity by a thread, desperate for their kids to go back to school. 

I realize that some parents are still not comfortable sending their kids to school and are opting to homeschool or virtual school once again. And I really do feel that everyone should do what is best for their family. But I am not the one. The thought of managing four kids ranging in age from pre-K to high school is a no-go for me. I know myself, and I don’t have the mental or emotional capacity to manage over 50 virtual classes a week, keep up with my job, make three meals and 375 snacks a day, and clean my house over and over like it’s freakin’ Groundhog Day.

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And it’s not just about me. My kids really need to go back to school too. My youngest has a speech delay and needs in-person services to help him continue to grow in his language acquisition. My little social butterfly daughter needs to interact with her friends. I am pretty sure my hyperactive 5th grader will quit school if he has to sit through one more virtual class, and frankly, I wouldn’t even blame him. And the last place my teenager wants to be is stuck at home all day with his lame parents and annoying younger siblings.

Schools are opening over the next month. And yes, there is cause for concern. Variants are surging across the country, and kids are getting Covid. The American Academy of Pediatrics published a new report showing almost 72,000 new cases of COVID-19 among children as of July 29. According to CNN, Florida, a major current hot spot, documented more than 10,000 kids under 12 testing positive in the week ending July 29 and more than 11,000 between ages 12 and 19 testing positive. 

Although many schools have improved ventilation systems and implemented strict cleaning protocols, testing, and mask requirements … it’s just not enough for some parents. Add to that not all school districts will require students to wear masks, not all schools have clear contingency plans for outbreaks, and some districts are not offering virtual options to students — at all. So I get it if some parents choose to keep their kids home, for any number of reasons.

I am fortunate to be able to say that if schools do shut down again, I have options. But that scenario will indeed be a detrimental situation for some families. We are talking about people losing their livelihoods and the ability to provide their families with just the bare necessities. 

So I am begging people to please get vaccinated, be smart, socially distance, stay masked even when you think you don’t need to, and think beyond themselves. Because if schools shut down again, I am going to go batshit crazy and take it out on every person that even looks like they are causing a problem. And I have a feeling I could recruit an army of like-minded parents to do the same.