When the world shut down March 16, 2020, we all believed it would be for just “two weeks.” School sent home my daughter’s book bag with all her books and packets with two weeks’ worth of work.
Fast forward to today, and we are still largely in the same situation. From that moment to today every school district in New Jersey has had one job, to get these kids back to our “new normal.” Everyday we watch as the governor comes onto the TV and Facebook live, telling us how many more are infected and how many more have sadly passed away. Things out of everyone’s control.
What can be controlled is getting our kids back to normal. Some districts have gone back full in person instruction all day. Some have hybrid schedules like my daughter’s at Hardyston Elementary School. Some are all virtual. Yet on virtual and “at home” instruction days, my kids go to daycare. They have been in daycare since June 2020, full day. Why can my children go to daycare but not to their school district full time? A question no one at the school can answer for me.
Throughout this entire process things have been asked of my family and we have complied with them all. Stay home to stop the spread! Got it! Limit travel. Got it! Dance competitions cancelled. Got it! Two rolls of toilet paper per family. Got it!
We have participated in numerous drive-by birthdays. We have worn masks everywhere. We have done so many virtual activities I cannot even count them. All with a light at the end of the tunnel. Slow the spread, stop the curve, get the kids back to school.
We have done all that has been asked of us but when we as parents have asked our school district Hardyston Township to do everything in their power to get our kids back to school we have been told, we will not use any mitigating measures and we need to see the board of health change their guidance. Even as the superintendent and board of education have at their disposal examples of how bringing these kids in school full days is working in other districts.
As I write this it has been day 366 of Covid. Never in my life did I think we would still be here, that I would still be having this round-robin fight with my child’s school district.
The numbers are jaded. Sussex County has been lumped with Morris, Passaic, and Warren counties, and the numbers are down in our town and county but still the CALI numbers are orange and we cannot move forward. We are stuck in this standstill position.
We were given a reopening roadmap. Our district believed that when we went back in September the numbers would continue to trend down. Even knowing we were going into cold and flu season. Even knowing we were going into the holidays. The expectation was way off base. The roadmap has been ditched with one marking period left and our kids are still in limbo.
All of our parents’ worries are falling on deaf ears, and it is extremely frustrating. Watching your child struggle to get through a school day is heartbreaking. Fighting with them to get ready to go on the bus with a book bag twice their size is exhausting. We did all that has been asked of us and I am tired of giving but receiving vague answers, no set timeline and no cooperation from my child’s school district!
What will stop them from not holding in-person full-day school in September? They have had a year to manage to get this plan right but here we are continuing to fight this uphill battle.
I implore you to stand up for your child. Write the superintendent and demand answers. Our children have done all that’s been asked of them, it’s time our district delivers the basic necessities we pay for in our tax dollars to them. It’s time our district steps up for our children!
Sincerely, a really tired mom.