Sunday Scaries Intensified: Working My Way Through Some More Big Feelings Today

When the pandemic began and we first returned to school, I believed that if we followed certain protocols consistently, we would all be okay. I couldn’t guarantee that nobody would get COVID, but I thought that we could limit the spread with these classroom/school choices and was grateful to our Board for putting many of these protocols in place.

  • Masking when in the classroom, and even at times, outside.
  • Creating independent spaces for kids and providing as much distance as possible.
  • Providing more flexible eating times in the classroom — a luxury that we definitely have thanks to our kindergarten schedule and my amazing teaching partner, Paula — so that everyone is not unmasked at the same time.
  • Using the outdoor space as much as possible to allow for more distancing.
  • Washing hands and sanitizing frequently.
  • Limiting shared materials, and encouraging additional space and smaller groups when kids are sharing materials.

I realize now, reading more and more about how COVID is transmitted, that some of these choices probably helped and some might not have, but I still backed this plan. Paula and I both did. And even when case numbers dropped and more things opened up, we erred on the side of caution and remained vigilant about these protocols in the classroom and outside. We might not have control over home decisions, but we wanted to try and reduce the chance of outbreaks within the room. This was a success.

  • Now was this because of choices that our families made at home in addition to what we did in the classroom?
  • Was this a case of luck?
  • Was this due to the school closures that happened over times of higher transmission rates?
  • Was this because of some community lockdowns that limited gathering options outside of the school?

The answers to all of these questions might be yes or they might be no. Maybe there are other things that we need to consider here. Whether correct or not, I was sure that we could keep ourselves and our students safe, and this made me feel better. It helped me sleep at night. Some might argue that I was kidding myself into believing that our choices were enough, but for over a year, I would have stood by every single one of them.

Right now, things have changed. COVID has changed. Reading about the Omicron variant makes me wonder if masking, distancing, sanitizing, and staying home when sick will be enough. I want to believe that they will be. I need to tell myself that everything will be okay because we’re all going to be going into school every day where COVID could be. This might have been the reality for the past couple of years, but before, I felt confident that the choices we made would reduce transmission. I thought we could contain the spread, and now, I’m not as sure that we can.

Our families entrust us every day with the very best that they have. We love and care for each one of our children and make these relationships paramount.

I know that there’s the statement floating around that “everyone is going to get COVID,” and many are resigning themselves to this. But how will we feel if children get sick in our care? What about if many children do? What if some get really sick? What if there’s little we can do to change this? Parents trust us to keep their kids safe, and I’ve always believed that we could. I know that we’ll continue to do everything we can to make things as safe as possible — and I know that we will not be alone in doing so. As I write this post, I’m trying to push back the tears as I work through my fear of the unknown, and hope that I’m wrong to even be worried. How are others adjusting to the possibility that some elements of safety might be out of our control? Somehow Sunday seems a lot scarier today.


4 thoughts on “Sunday Scaries Intensified: Working My Way Through Some More Big Feelings Today

  1. I’m struggling a bit with it too. Like you, I’ve been really serious about following safety protocols in school AND at home. At home I’m talking to my kids about keeping their masks on all day and staying at least one meter away from other kids. It’s so hard! I feel very nervous about getting sick. It also bothers me to know that I might know someone in the class has Covid and I won’t be able to share that with parents. I felt the same way one year when someone had pin worms. It doesn’t feel good to me, even though I understand the privacy concerns some people have.

    I wonder how much of what I’m feeling comes from having been almost exclusively at home for 4 weeks and now being faced with the challenge of being around people again. I like being in my safe, controlled environment at home where I know my children are okay.

    • Thanks Lisa for sharing your feelings and thoughts here. While I don’t have kids of my own, I will admit that I’ve been just as vigilant at home as at school, and probably even more so in the past month. With the increased restrictions, I go almost nowhere, and I’m always really careful about masking. Maybe we’ll both feel differently when we return to school. I hope so. It’s true that we can control the environment differently at home, and that can make a transition back, harder. But our kids are great, and hopefully, will adjust well to masking again. It’s been a month where limited masking is needed, so adjusting could be a challenge for everyone. I wore a mask almost all day at school on Friday — except for when my door was shut and I was online with kids (alone) — and I came home with a headache. I guess I’m out of practice. 🙂

      It’s becoming aware that we might not be able to keep everyone safe — no matter what we do or how hard we try — that I’m finding really hard to come to terms with. I just don’t want any of our kids or families to get COVID and get really sick. Is this something we can control though? I’m not sure we can … at least not maybe as much as we could before.

      Have a great first week back and stay safe!

  2. We are a week in to school here in Alberta. My stressors are reduced when I see kids doing fun things together and especially playing outside in the snow. I feel abandoned by both our provincial and federal governments though in terms of promising rapid tests and masks. It is the helplessness of not being able to get tested and make informed decisions. Omicron is in our school, and our community. The pressure to reduce the spread of this virus is so intense.
    I know that doing things as normally as possible and getting outside is critical for my mental health right now.
    Stay safe and take time to enjoy your kiddos.

    • Thanks for your comment, Julie! I appreciate you sharing your reality, as I think that my fear of the unknown is a large worry right now. I know that the kids will definitely make me feel better. They always do. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks. Most of all, I hope that everyone is okay, and that the illnesses that do occur are minor. It’s knowing that some of this is out of our control that I find to be a real challenge. Have a great week and stay safe!


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