It’s here! After 6 months of spending every waking hour together, we’re attempting to return to some sense of normalcy. You are both heading back to school, full-time! Can I get an Amen? Things will look different, but honestly—anything is better than distance learning and I’m so excited for both of you to get back into a routine, see your friends and get a little bit of independence.
We are one of the few schools that I’m aware of in the metro area that are going back full time. Most schools are doing 100% distance learning or a hybrid model where they go into school for two days and then do distance learning for three days. Fortunately, St. Vincents is a pretty small school which allows for a little more flexibility than many of the public schools.
I’ve been so impressed with everything the school has done to prepare over the summer and the communication with parents keeping us updated on the plans. They sent several surveys, updated the air filtration system, converted all toilets & sinks to motion sensors—including installing sinks in every classroom, created a guardian angel room for kids experiencing COVID systems, modified the lunchroom, recess & mass process, replaced shared tables with individual desks, are ONLY allowing teachers and students into the building, specialists will be visiting the classrooms verses traveling to other rooms, modified the doors kids enter school from, are going to try and do as much learning outside as possible (each child has their own Yoga mat). Generally, it feels like a great plan.
In prep for school to begin, we dropped school supplies off outside at a table for each grade since there wasn’t an open house. Teachers sent videos giving kids a tour of the classroom and showing the students what they looked like without a mask and what they look like with a mask and a shield on. Lexi has Mrs. Kain and has 3 of your closest friends in her class and William is in Mrs. Yosef’s class.
At home, we started preparing for school by going to bed early and getting up early to start to get you into a routine. On Labor Day, I cleaned the house from top to bottom. Put stuff away. Washed all of the beach towels, swim suits and basically put summer away. The school year is kind of like the new year—its a moment to reset ourselves up and having a clean and organized house feels like a great wya to do that. Overall, you were both pretty excited to get back to school. Each day, William would ask, ‘how many more days until school starts?’
Since parents aren’t allowed in the school and I wasn’t going to be able to walk William in to his class, we put that responsibility on Big Sister, Lexi. We talked through how Lexi would walk William into his classroom, help him find his locker and make sure he got into the right classroom. She was pretty excited and proud to have such an important role and show him the ropes. Night before—talked about how Lexi would walk William into school. She would help him find his locker and get him to his classroom. She was pretty excited to show him the ropes and be the big sister.
While putting William to bed, I asked, ‘Are you nervous or excited?’ He responds, ‘I’m just SO excited!! My teacher said we were going to have lots of fun! I can’t wait.’
Lexi requested to have her hair curled in the morning instead of a braid and really wanted to have it all down, but compromised with it half up. Said she didn’t care about how early she needed to get up to have it curled.
On Tuesday, I woke up around 5:20 to make the kids request, pancakes and bacon.
Lexi also requested that I curl her hair and she didn’t care how early I had to wake her up to do it. Around 6:10, I woke her up and she popped right up and came downstairs to get dressed, brush teeth and eat while I curled her hair. I woke William up around 6:20 knowing he takes a little bit longer to get going in the morning. Daddy made awesome signs—as usual describing all things Lexi and all things William. The goal was to leave around 7:10–but by the time we were done taking our pictures it was closer to 7:15-7:20.
Cars line for drop off was crazy. Cars snaked all around the parking lot, down the street and the way past the school. When we finally got to the front door, William was flustered getting his yoga mat and backpack out the door and was pretty pooky walking in, but Lexi grabbed his had and walked him to his locker, while my eyes pooled with tears.
I have such conflicting emotions. After being together every single day since February, doing distance learning, figuring out a new way to work, having constant distractions or interuptions has been really hard. So a big part of me is thrilled for both of you to go back to school so all of us to get some space, independence and shift back into a more structured routine.
There is this other part of me that is really sad. I’m really sad that we weren’t able to go into schools for a little orientation with William’s teacher. I’m sad that I didn’t get to walk him into school today. I’m sad that they are wearing masks. I’m sad that everyone else he sees and interacts with will have a mask on. I’m sad the kids won’t be able to give their teachers a hug or vice versa. I’m sad they won’t be able to see others smiles. I’m sad that William won’t get an 8th grade buddy or a 5th grade ready pal. I’m sad they won’t get to go on field trips. There are just so many exciting things that typically happen and I’m sad he (or Lexi) won’t get to experience them
And granted, I know just being in school is a HUGE blessing and we are so fortunate and things could be much worse, but it still doesn’t take away of those other feelings.
Overall, both Lexi and William had a ‘GREAT’ first day as William said. He loved everything about the day and Lexi couldn’t stop chatting about everything that happened and every conversation she had. Cheers to a great year!