Omicron Is Forcing Students To Return To Virtual Classrooms, And This Is Something I Cannot Support.

Every day, we look forward to receiving the email that says, “Sorry, parents, we’ll turn everything upside down once again.”

When my girls’ Wisconsin school system announced that it would be shifting to virtual classes at the beginning of 2020, I couldn’t help but see the positive. There’d be more time for the kids to get some shut-eye. Parent drop-off and pick-up in the parking lot were not an issue. While working from home, I spent more time with my children and prepared them everything I had pinned on Pinterest. We, of course, had a lower risk of contracting the virus.

In the beginning, virtual learning seemed like a brilliant idea.

Distance study had many advantages, but I was utterly unprepared for the consequences. Adaptability and resilience are two qualities that children possess. Even though this would be a transition period, wouldn’t it be interesting, novel, and exhilarating? Wrong.

Our school district has recently discussed the possibility of becoming remote again as the number of Omicron cases continues to climb. As a result of the pandemic-induced personnel shortages, this is still the situation in districts, notably in Washington and Tennessee. There is no way I can go through it again if our community doesn’t go remote again.

I’m reminded of the nearly one-and-a-half-year period I became a tutor, chef, and referee (my girls started bickering more than ever before). On top of that, I had to keep up with all of my projects.

That time and energy I thought I’d reclaim by having them stay at home? Not so much. That, unfortunately, did not occur. Does the thought of working with them and gaining knowledge from their experiences excite you at all? In other words, it’s safe to say that Google has become one of my most trusted and reliable sources of information.

The phrase “overwhelmed” hardly scratches the surface of my feelings. On most days, I felt as if I were drowning. I couldn’t give my all to anyone because I was being pushed in many places. I could not concentrate, and my life began to spiral out of control.

Many parents have encountered this situation. We made it to the other side of the tears and tantrums of breakdowns and exuberance. Even if I’m speaking for myself, I can’t go through with it again.

At long last, I’m beginning to feel more at ease in my professional life. Even though the girls are no longer afraid to leave the house, they’ve re-established a morning routine. Even when schools began to switch to virtual classrooms to slow the Omicron outbreak, we were concerned.

I was enraged at first. Angry at everyone who didn’t take the necessary procedures to keep themselves safe. And angered that they can’t see beyond their narrow self-interest in making a point. Because of their efforts to keep the community secure, my daughters suffer due to their actions. “We’re all in this together,” you say?

It is critical to allow my daughters to experience all of their emotions, no matter how difficult they may be. Putting a name on what they’re feeling will help them deal with it and move on. That’s what we did, so there you go.

My girls screamed and wailed when they initially realized they would be separated from their teachers and classmates. Because of her anxiousness, my eldest wept herself to sleep, and it crushed my heart in a million pieces. But we talked about it, as well.

Discussed virtual learning’s challenges and disappointments. As the situation is constantly changing, we’re talking about how best to deal with each of those feelings. I don’t think it’s wrong or shameful to feel this way. To be honest, that makes sense, and I applaud them for being so open about it.

We’re just hanging on for the ride, eagerly anticipating the email informing us: Sorry, parents, but we’re about to turn everything upside down. As a result, the answer is no. I can’t do virtual learning again as a mom. My children can’t either.

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