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Archive for March 12th, 2021

Never has a spring break been so anticipated by so many.

I recognize that not all have a spring break in their life, through their own work or through the children in their lives. For those who do, my thoughts may reverberate in your own heart and mind.

For some it started a week or two ago, or maybe not for weeks yet. It might be called Spring or March or reading break. It might be just a week, or two.

Whatever it looks like, this break is starting differently than last year’s, when we were introduced to lock down, closures, cancellations and Tiger King as people all over the world were repatriating to their home countries.

Though we Canadian’s are still not jetting off to sunny destinations (lest we would have to quarantine for two weeks upon return to our home country), I think we are thankful that, just like the days of growing daylight, vaccine rollouts are providing the light in the darkness for our constitutions.

For those who work within learning environments, Spring Break this year is particularly appreciated. From teachers, to custodians, to office staff, to educational assistants, to maintenance crews, to bus drivers, to administration this has been a year of stretching, additional responsibilities and fatigue like none other. Then there are the students … who have encountered at least as much change and challenge.

A year ago at home learning was being whispered about, leading to at least two months of zooms, online conferences and all of the technical issues that came with them.

When (many, but not all) classes resumed in the fall, they do so differently. Cohort became a daily used word. Online daily health checks started our days. Physical education and music classes changed significantly (and changed throughout the year). Masks became expected fashion accessories. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize!

In many school districts, high school schedules changed exponentially from full year or half year semesters to ten week semesters, with only classes each … I even know of a district where students only have one course, for five weeks at a time (think about that … a teacher and their students are together ALL day, EVERY day for five weeks!).

Barriers were brought into the office reception area, parent-teacher interviews were completed by phone, field trips all but a faded memory and many teaching staff (in high schools) have gone without much of a break in one semester or had half a day in another (sounds good on the one hand, but ten weeks of little break from working with students does little to enhance quality of teaching).

All school staff are fatigued of being mask police …

“mask on”
“over the nose too”
“mask on in the hallways”
and, similarly,
“no, you cannot eat in the hallways”

and, believe me, the response is not always compliant or kind.

Then there is Covid itself. Schools all have staff who, themselves, are immunocompromised. For them, going to work could feel like a daily play of Russian roulette. Or those who live with loved ones whose health is equally fragile. The thought of possibly bringing a virus home, that could have much more severe consequences than just a cough and malaise, has been a daily fear.

So, Spring Break, we welcome you, with open arms …

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