Written by Leigh Ripley
Normally I start doing the back-to-school dance around this time of year. Summer is great and, don’t get me wrong, I adore having my kids around more, but COME ON PEOPLE! We have been family bonding since March! So, this year I’m doing more of a back- to-school prayer ceremony – and I’m willing to try anything.
The magazine you are reading now will be printed by August 1, and we are expected to hear the district’s plans for reopening school by August 9 or 10. So – at this point in real time – my prayers may have already been answered. If so, I will be found joining the thousands of other scrambling parents shopping for masks and hand sanitizer along with back-to-school supplies. And one small request to teachers...for this year’s list, please don’t ask me to bring in Clorox or Lysol Wipes. I still can’t find any for myself! How about we donate to classroom HEPPA Filters?
If we are not headed back to the hallowed brick-and-mortar halls of education, you might look for me at the psych ward. I will be accompanied by my 17-year-old daughter. This is for both her own safety and the safety of the general public.
The 14-year-old will likely continue down the remote learning path she concluded the 2019-2020 school year with by “choosing not to participate” – unfortunately, that kind of attitude will be met with some dangerously scary consequences this year. She didn’t mind much not attending her tiny K-8 school, which she nicknamed “Prism in Hell,” But missing out on the first day of her freshman year at a large high school might just send her over the edge.
And then there is the 12-year-old. Poor baby. She genuinely likes her school, her friends, her teachers, the school lunch, choir concerts – all of it. And she’s the type of kid who won’t pout or threaten to harm herself (or others) if it does end up being some sort of remote learning this fall. Instead, she will put up a brave front, do what needs to be done, pretend to enjoy it and sometime, later in life, therapy will draw out the actual damage that was done.
As much as I hate the face mask and not being able to hug my friends, I really want my kids to go back to school. And I want your kids to go back as well. So, buck up Montana parents and follow the rules: face masks, social distancing, hand washing and general common sense.
Here’s to hoping I see you all masked up in line at Target for school supplies this month!