Like I said in my last post, we sent the kids to school on Monday morning.
They both had a great day.
Late Monday afternoon we got the email that a parent had reported a positive case in P’s class to the school. (There had been no such emails in the previous two weeks when we’d been keeping them home while they built immunity from their second dose.)
We debated but ultimately decided to send her back and take her out if any more cases arose.
We pulled P. back out at lunch on Tuesday because we learned of a second case. I heard about it from parents at drop off and I would have turned around and taken her home with me right then except she was already in the classroom.
A third case was announced via email by Tuesday afternoon. The parents of that child haven’t self-identified on our group chat thread but I suspect it might be the kid who had a play date on the weekend with the second case (and whose mother was the one announcing the other kid was positive and that her child had had a play date with said child as she was sending her kid into the classroom where they, I only later learned from P., sit AT HER TABLE).
So E. is still going to school and P. is at home until at least Monday and Q. is grumpy because, for the first time in the entire pandemic, our assessments of the risks do not align.
Q. is of the view that we’ve done everything we can to make ourselves safe, that Omicron is so widespread and so transmissible that it is inevitable that we are going to get it, and that the disruption from having the kids home (especially P. – not her fault, she’s just younger) is unsustainable and has to end.
I am of the view that we should refuse to accept infection as inevitable and that we should continue to remove ourselves from high-risk situations, especially during times of peak infection when the health care system is overloaded and dangerously close to collapse. I get that my kids are extremely unlikely to end up in the hospital and the evidence is looking better on long COVID if you’re vaccinated, but if COVID turns out to cause problems after infection years or decades down the road, I don’t want to be part of the group that learns that the hard way. It’s becoming increasingly clear that ‘one and done’ doesn’t apply with COVID infections; the idea of ‘let’s get it and then we’ll have gotten it over with’ just isn’t true.
Q. is right that at some point we are going to have to reenter our lives.
He is also right that we are losing our minds after two years of teaching online while juggling the kids (who have been home far more than they have been in school).
But I can’t rationalize keeping her in a situation that would have shut down the classroom in December. The only thing that has changed is the public health guidance, which is based on our government’s decision to give up on the pandemic and just pretend everything is fine, especially in the schools full of un/undervaccinated children.
Our public health protocols are bad protocols.
So she stays home until the situation looks better, even if that means I get up at 5 am to do the marking I thought I could do during school hours. P.’s schooling right now is low stakes. She’s not even legally obligated to be there. She misses her friends and she’s concerned that the class is learning French letter sounds without her but a few more days, even a few more weeks over the course of this year will not have grave long-term consequences for her.
What keeps me up at night is that it might already be too late. The day and a half she was in school might have already given her COVID.
I keep saying to people if she does get it, we really are all screwed. She’s at peak immunity, wears a CA-N95 mask (and wears it properly, all the time), is in a classroom with a HEPA filter, and we pulled her out at lunch.
So maybe I’m fighting a futile battle, thinking I can avoid this. Personal responsibility can only take you so far if there’s no systemic government/societal support.
I guess we’ll know in a few days.