Returning to school during Covid with hybrid option Plan B
Our COVID-19 pandemic back to school experience started out with my husband and I firmly believing that the first day of school was Tuesday, the18th of August; then finding out late Sunday night that school was actually starting on Monday the 17th! We were so sure we were right about the start date for ONCE. I say for once because we are always WRONG, and in keeping tradition it happened again. Luckily, we had at least gotten school supplies so we sprang up and started packing their book bags and leftover pizza in their lunch boxes. Whew! We were so blindsided but we prepared, and the kids had went to bed early. They would be in for a BIG SURPRISE when they woke up!
The drop off
Morning arrived and I was up with the sun from being anxious, worried, and excited. I began to cry (for the first time,) about the COVID apprehensions I had and wondered if we had made the right decision. We talked in a previous article about all the uncertainties that parents face this year https://rci-plus-topsail.com/have-you-made-your-decision-on-school-help/, and I was understandably still being plagued by doubt. Nevertheless, we gathered the kids, managed to serve HOT breakfast and we were off at 7:30 am. Why?! Because now we have a middle schooler and an elementary student. Our ten-year old entered fifth grade, and our seven-year old, the second grade.
Under Hybrid Option B, Onslow County Schools kept our children together in the Cohort A group which meets Mondays & Tuesdays in-person, and Wednesday through Friday is virtual learning.
Seasoned parents informed me that you ALWAYS drop off and pick up at the middle school first, then head to the elementary. I anticipated heavy traffic and legions of cars. I was wrong. It was a quiet, peaceful, ghost town. Crickets. Eerie almost. That’s when a friend informed me that the middle school was normally smooth territory. Ike was practically peeling from his seat with anticipation. All the staff were in masks but you could sense their smiles from their EYES. They asked questions pertaining to COVID, took his temperature, and he was OFF! He didn’t even close the van door, so I didn’t have time to cry. That would be reserved for the elementary school.
We drove off and headed to drop MJ. That’s when we discovered the perk of having a middle schooler to drop: you’ll be at the elementary with the early people. A group of people I always envied and now I had entered their exclusive club. You’ll arrive before 8. Drop off begins at 8:25. We pulled into the peaceful line of commuters. Parked, then allowed our second grader and preschooler out of their seats to play, wait, and occasionally yell until the time came. Another thing that Lincoln has begun: saying good morning to every teacher who passes his window. The time came and we were met with the same coronavirus questions and temperature was taken. Then, MJ got out the car and began her walk. And that’s when the tears fell: watching her pig tails, seeing her in a mask…we had made it back to school…it was a different route but we had arrived. She was happy, walking off. She kept looking back while she trotted, and I kept gushing tears and remembered I’d forgotten to take a picture. But it was ok, I didn’t need one.
If you’re not familiar with being a drop-off and pick-up parent, the time between the two points goes by very fast, and most times it seems like by the time you go home, it’s time to go back, especially if you run errands. Remember that I’m still new to the middle school part, so I left the house at 2:50 to be there at 3, thinking pick-up started at that time. It’s closer to 3:10/15. Well, I arrived at after 3 because inconvenience is the theme of 2020 and I needed to get gas for the van. I gritted my teeth the entire time I was pumping, just knowing it would set me back. And it did! This time when I arrived at the middle school, there was an overwhelming fleet of cars and they were not moving. I wondered what the process was and how they were dismissing, how long it would take, and how this would impact my daughter being picked up. I wondered if I would have to have my hubby get her separately. I wondered everything you could wonder, until the cars started steadily moving and I heard dismissal updates over the intercom that I couldn’t quite make out. I have since learned that dismissal starts with the 5th graders, and goes up-so being there as early as possible is advantageous-and my plan going forward. I waited about 30 minutes. When I got to the front, Isaiah barreled into the car, ripped off his mask, and said he was ready to have it off. My heart immediately went out to him as I began to ambush him with questions.
the fast facts:
- They wore masks except when they are eating
- He has 16 kids in his class (GASPS, HOORAY!)
- She has 8 kids in her class (Another YAY!)
- They had a great teacher experience
- Everyone has their own table in his class
- She is using a desk and they are 6 feet apart
- A dismissal app will be utilized for the elementary school soon that will streamline the carpool process, so CHECK YOUR EMAILS!
- The middle-schoolers are learning to write in cursive and I am ecstatic about that!
- They were both given complimentary masks by the school
- Make sure you get every thing on their supply lists: REMEMBER, they can’t share!
- It has taken me about an hour in the morning and afternoon total for the carpool process
How is your family doing?
We here at RCI+Topsail are so proud of our parents and guardians no matter what you decided to implement this year for school and we would like to hear how you are handling it; how your children are adjusting; suggestions; questions; and concerns. We’re all in this together. One thing I have realized is that I am enjoying having the 2-day option combined with virtual because we are tackling fall sports as well, which I will blog about on another post. We have to be at cheer or football Monday-Friday, so having a break from commuting to school as well is much appreciated.
As a reminder, I am writing from the perspective of an Onslow County parent who uses Dixon Elementary and Middle School. Things may be vastly different with you in your county and I have been talking with my Pender and private-school pals about their experiences too, in addition to my home-school homies:). Throughout the year, I will be here with you to share ALL of our combined experiences and efforts.