My girls have been home sick for almost 2 weeks. We’ve consistently tested negative for CoVid. If we’re being honest, we’ve been sick a lot since the kids have been back in school. We’ve been tested so many times that I’m actually embarrassed to go to our local CVS because they know us by name now. Currently, our school is overrun with Omicron. There are no masks required, no social distancing and they are about to take away the mode 3 learning option for those who are actively sick or quarantined. In essence, they are trying to force everyone to be in person. What am I supposed to do when I know sending my teens to school in a pandemic is destroying their mental health?
Here’s some more truth. I am diabetic. Last year, I kept the girls home, to their detriment. It’s resulted in my efforts to protect our health negatively impacting their mental health and quality of life. For that, I will feel guilt for the rest of my life. Every time they were exposed, I adhered to the testing and quarantine guidelines laid out…while others, from shame, ignored symptoms and even concealed positive results and still attended school. Being of a rational mind, all of this has weighed heavily on me and added to my anxiety. It’s added to our already huge feeling of being unsafe.
Last week, the girls were out for a stomach virus (2 negative tests last week say no CoVid). The principal called to suggest we pull the girls out of their school (the private school I’ve been paying for 3 years/ almost 2 of which my girls were virtual). I won’t lie, I was insulted and I was hurt. They suggested an online academy not associated with the school itself.
I know kids need to be in school. I’ve seen the damage not being there can cause… firsthand. But what about their safety and well-being? “What are you doing to keep them safe?” I asked.
He, literally, changed the subject and asked me if the girls were wearing their masks at school? Switching the onus to them. They do wear their masks but they are in the minority in a school of 1000. They are also a part of the vaccinated and boostered club minority. He did make a point to let me know that soon, he was planning to remove the asynchronous learning option for kids altogether because it is too taxing on the teachers. That was last Friday.
Monday, my girls were still sick. I called the school in tears because my children were obviously still unwell, vomiting, nauseous and having terrible diarrhea but now, I have the threat of expulsion looming. These are good, smart kids who are being threatened with removal because they’ve been heavily sick after almost 2 years of being completely isolated. They catch every virus that comes along now.
I was on the phone in tears asking for permission to let my children stay home from a school overrun with coronavirus. I couldn’t reach the principal so I spoke to the Vice-principal. She said to keep the girls home. She also told me that she had 80 positive cases that morning and was in the process of sending more kids home after she ended our call. Also, the principal that I had spoken with on the previous Friday was now home quarantining because he and his children had been exposed at school and tested positive. As the week has gone on, more and more children and staff have been sent home to isolate themselves after either being exposed or testing positive. My daughters go back today.
Sending my Teens to School in a Pandemic is Destroying their Mental Health
Tomorrow, they are hosting an all-school mass with the Bishop. An all-school mass (for those not in Catholic school) is mass with all 1000 kids together, complete with the Eucharist and the sign of peace (both contact). I think it’s insane for obvious reasons but this is what’s happening. Nothing makes sense to me anymore. I’m going to tell them that my girls are not allowed to attend. The last time I did this, they ignored my email and sent them anyway.
This time, I’m going to call and speak with the vice principal. If need be, I will come to pick them up until the mass is over. Who has an all-school mass during a pandemic surge? Does this make sense to anyone? Am I overreacting? I feel like I’m asking to do an insane thing in a pandemic surge. I’m conflicted because science tells me to be cautious and the school is making me feel like I’m the crazy one.
This morning I woke up and (with my little brother and sister both sick and testing positive for Omicron) thought to myself, is online school really such a bad option? Is my pride worth putting my girl’s health in danger? But can their mental health handle the isolation when everyone else they know is going about their business? I’m watching it happen, Coronavirus is destroying our teens and tweens. It’s too much for their hearts and heads to handle. What do you do when sending your teens to school in a pandemic is destroying their mental health?