School Struggle Bus

This school year has been hard on everyone. My kids are all at home right now, attending school via some very old and unreliable Chromebooks that our district gave us. I hear that is more than some children in other districts got, so I guess I should be grateful for that? If I’m being completely real though, and this is the only space I can, I find it hard to believe that the wealthiest country in the world can’t do better for all of us.

Our school district has chosen to have on site child care for families who need it most. I think we can do this safely…if all the staff follow the health and safety guidelines written by the Nursing staff that the district pays quite a pretty penny to employ. That hasn’t happened yet. I have never felt more unsure about my career choice in life. I have never, ever questioned my choice to become a nurse. Now though, as science denial rears its ugly head and I see some of the most callous behavior in regards to public health that I have in my life, I spend nearly every day questioning it.

Why am I even here? I would be of more use in an ER or an ICU right now. It is hard to sit here as our COVID numbers rise, and not contemplate quitting every single day. “Pull your mask up, please. Over your nose, please.” And I’m saying this to ADULTS. The children would do it if the adults would model it. But one person asking this of them while the people with them all day don’t do it, is going to have every little impact. There are schools with no Nurse, that isn’t right either, but this is unsustainable. I’m not sure I can keep going.

Two years ago, with so much hope, I interviewed for this job and chose it because I hoped to effect change against the cycle of harm that my children had endured in our local public schools. Now, every single day, I wonder if I am contributing to that cycle of harm. The vast majority of the children attending our child care program, where we are struggling to follow health and safety guidelines, live in poverty. Some of them lack health care. Now they’re in a situation where their chances of contracting the virus are exponentially higher. Even if they recover quickly, will their family members? What if they’re cared for by their grandparent? How will that person be impacted? All of these thoughts scroll through my head daily. Sometimes, overnight, they scroll through hourly.

Joe is in his first year of teaching at the same school. I don’t want to dampen his joy. He’s really good at this, and he really loves it. My killing that Joe would be absolutely awful. So, I’m working through the chain of command, trying to explain why this is so dangerous. So far, I’m met with a whole lot of shoulder shrugging. No one is quite sure what to do. Staffing is rough. No one wants to do this job. They’ll want to do it even less if they have a letter of discipline in their file. While I also understand that, this is worth it.

We can’t lose a life to this recklessness.

–FullPlateMom, who is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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