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How Sending my Teens to School in a Pandemic is Destroying their Mental Health, Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

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?

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Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Not saying CoVid and this pandemic are issues especially hard for middle class moms with private school kids but not saying it isn’t either. I’ve noticed that, at least from my viewpoint, public schools are doing more to stop the spread. Public schools are funded by the government and are more likely to follow government guidelines and recommendations because they are cognizant that not doing so can end in losing funding. Private schools on the other hand are funded by donors, usually wealthy alumni who gift large sums of money, often with “suggestions.” What I’m saying is that if you think super-rich kids are terrible, well, you’ve never experienced their entitled parents firsthand.

They don’t like to be told what to do. It infringes upon “their freedom” so they will scream white at the top of their lungs while staring directly at a black wall. If you disagree, you are not right, you are obviously blind because you chose to believe your own eyes over what they tell you. This is the situation.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

Science and research show that vaccines, masks and social distancing are the way to end the pandemic. Some people at private schools say none of it exists and refuse to allow their children to follow guidelines for a “political pandemic” created by the liberals to make us all sheeple. After all, this is MURICA! Caught right in the middle of it all, the faculty and administration just trying to do the right thing by humankind without alienating the very people who pay their salaries.

Omicron is here and making my life more difficult than ever. I hate pandemic parenting because I’m terrified to send my kids to school. Let me start by saying that this whole pandemic has been a lesson in versatility, patience and pushing past fear. It’s enough already. I give. I’ve learned my lesson. I wash my hands religiously, I prioritize people and I live like every day could be my last, because it could be but my breaking point seems to be when I live in a world where others are pretending that none of this is real. People are dying and where I live, people are pretending that nothing is wrong. People are dying and nothing is wrong? Is this logical to anyone reading this? If so, please help it make sense because I can’t and it’s literally making me feel insane.

At this point, my family has been vaccinated and boostered, except Gabi who will get hers this week as soon as I can get her an appointment. We rarely go anywhere. With Omicron we are actually reverting to our March 2020 hermit lives. We wear masks in public and we social distance when possible. We wash our hands and change our outside clothes. We disinfect everything. In our state, we are in the minority.

At our daughters’ school, there are no preventative CoVid safety measures in place this year other than CDC guideline quarantining for the minimum 5 days if exposed and showing symptoms. But there is no social distancing or mask policy in place. There is no vaccination requirement. So every day, my rational and intelligent girls who have common sense go to school knowing they are 100% exposed. This is not okay.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

They are under so much stress (as any rational/ thinking person would be) that they have now both developed severe stress and anxiety due to the mishandling of the pandemic. They are kids who should be doing kid things but instead they are worried they are going to die or kill someone else because the adults are dropping the ball. The adults in charge are neither caring or protecting our children from Coronavirus, Delta or Omicron. They’re just seeing how this all plays out and that’s just not working for me anymore.

The other day I was driving to pick my daughters up from school and the truck ahead of me had a bumper sticker that read, “Unmask Our Kids Now.” In my head I heard, “unhand my mother” or “Free Nelson Mandela” only it wasn’t about saving anyone. In fact, quite the opposite. It basically read, “Societal rules don’t apply to me because I’m a selfish toddler who doesn’t care about anyone else but me and it’s my right to do whatever I want.”

You see, all over the country, friends of mine are taking their 5-11-year-olds to get their vaccination. In fact, they went on the very first day of eligibility, some of them drove to neighboring cities and even states, just to do their part to help end this pandemic. I’m elated. We took our girls as soon as they were eligible. Now, we’re getting them boostered because that is what all of us should be doing to end this pandemic. Was I nervous about giving my daughters a brand new vaccination? Yes. But I’m more afraid of CoVid and the long-term effects of Coronavirus.

There are still adults who haven’t gotten 1 shot yet. Y’all should be ashamed. You’d probably jump in the lifeboats ahead of the women and children too, am I right? Come on, this is embarrassing, America. Be a grown-up and do your part. Yes, I know, you don’t believe in CoVid but he believes in you and if you’re just going to live your life like you’re pursuing happiness, Consequences be damned, YOU WILL GET COVID. Regardless if you believe or not.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

So here we are. My daughter has missed 30 days of in-person school. I’d say at least 20 of those days were mandatory quarantines from exposure or from having “symptoms” like coughing or sore throat. I did it because even though they were vaccinated, the rules are in place to protect all of us. Also, the girls have caught a few viruses this year (as expected when reentering public places after 17 months of isolation) and pre-CoVid if my children were sick, I kept them home to protect others from catching it and to let my girls rest and recuperate. But suddenly, CoVid is the only acceptable reason for an absence.

Here’s where the real frustration comes into play, aside from kids at school chastising those who are vaccinated and/or wearing masks now the administration is questioning whether or not my daughters are “really sick” or just “don’t want to be there” when I call my daughters in sick. This began after we made them aware of the mental health struggles our girls are dealing with (as are most intelligent adults and teens). Talk about minimizing mental health. What else did I expect from a place that literally had a speaker come in and tell the kids that depression is evil and they need to pray away their mental health issues? Look, I’m all for leaning on God for strength when you feel helpless but to make it a character flaw to seek mental health help is something entirely different altogether.

Honestly, I didn’t write this post to complain about my kids’ school, I’m simply frustrated and exhausted from all of this. My daughter’s been vomiting and nauseous for the past 36 hours. Obviously, I can’t send her into a school like that nor would I send a child who is feeling that terrible into school. I called the attendance office and explained and braced myself for the inevitable call from the school nurse telling us we’d need a negative CoVid test to return, even with being vaccinated and boostered. Can I just mention that we’ve had to get so many CoVid tests in the past 2 years that the pharmacy techs at our local CVS know us by name now? It’s embarrassing. All that aside, I did get the call for the nurse but not before I got the call from the Vice Principal telling me that we “need to have a meeting to discuss her attendance”. It’s the first day of the new semester, what is there to talk about? She.Is. SICK. End of the story.   

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. My first priority is to keep my girls healthy, happy and alive. ALIVE. At this point, I’m getting as afraid of their depression and anxiety as I am of CoVid. No child should have to feel so hopeless and helpless. I spend many nights a week reassuring my daughters that we can get through this. Holding them while they cry about what they’ve lost and the normal teen experience that they simply cannot have right now. They are missing normal human connection and being able to attend school safely. Every day they feel under threat and I don’t blame them. So I advocate for them, reassure them, hold them and love them as much and as unconditionally as I can but it’s hard when I’m just as stressed, anxious and depressed as they are.

Update: Day 2 of vomiting and nausea, they are requiring a doctor’s note or fax saying the doctor doesn’t need to see her in order to excuse the absences. Even the pediatrician is like, it hasn’t even been 48 hours, she’s not dehydrated and she’s not running a fever coming in would be more dangerous than waiting it out. They can’t even do anything for a stomach bug. FML.

What would you do in my situation? What are you doing to not only protect your family from CoVid Omicron but all the long-term side effects of surviving a pandemic in a world where conspiracy theorists and CoVid deniers pretend nothing is wrong and none of this is real?

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