Sending kids back to school is most certainly uncomfortable. (Citizen file)

Sending kids back to school is most certainly uncomfortable. (Citizen file)

Sarah Simpson Column: Coronavirus and school feels like a no-win situation

I began writing this column — not this specific one but you know what I mean — because I was tired of reading bad news all the time. Good news was never the intent. It was actually suggested I write a political column but I really didn’t want to write about the local political scene. I’d just returned from maternity leave for the second time and my entire perspective on life had changed. My priorities had changed. Besides, all the players in local politics had changed. I didn’t know as much as I once did and a great many of my best connections and sources were gone.

Besides, nobody cares about my opinion on that topic and I knew it would most certainly yield a ton of emails and letters with negative feedback that I didn’t really want to read.

I made a decision. If I was being mandated to write a column, I’d prefer to write about what I want. I think it’s worked out pretty well.

So here we are, 161 columns later, with what I’d like to think is at least a mildly funny, good-news column that might make you crack a smile every now and then.

I do still wonder who reads this. I mean I don’t dwell on it too much, but I do wonder. Based on the emails I get, it’s older people who’ve had their children and perhaps now even have grandchildren, and are enjoying reading about the challenges, perils, and joys of raising children in today’s world.

But I can’t help but think there are also readers who are parents that are actively in the parenting trenches, like I am. (I figure they don’t have time to brush their hair let alone email me with their feedback but I do like to believe they read this sometimes).

I wonder how those parents are doing today. Are they as anxious as I am about the state of the world? Are they as numb as I am about the back-to-school saga? As confused? As deflated about it?

It felt really strange picking up my son’s school supplies the other day. It came without the excitement that I remember back-to-school feeling like. Perhaps it’s because he’s an anxious kid by nature and isn’t really keen to leave the comfort of home to physically go to school even though he loves the whole learning and doing stuff part of it. He’s going into Grade 1 so I imagine school is still pretty fun for him.

That doesn’t even have anything to do with the whole worldwide pandemic thing, which from what I understand is on the uptick yet again. COVID-19 takes life to a whole different level of anxiety and whether or not we believe it, the kids pick up on it.

My son had a bit of a 24-hour bug a while back and he was quietly convinced the entire time he was sick that he had “The Virus”. I only found out he’d been worried about it as I was putting him to bed. How heartbreaking. He’s six.

As I write this, we still haven’t received any type of definitive plan for going back to school, although one has been promised shortly. But by the time you read this, we’ll know. Will we be comforted by the plans or will we become even more concerned? Regardless, I can’t help but think that it’s all going to change as we get further into autumn anyway.

I feel for parents. There’s no right answer. For a kid like mine, going to school is really important for his social development. I could care less about the academics. He’s bright. He’ll learn what he needs to know eventually. But do I risk bringing COVID-19 into our house for the social development school provides? I know on the Island we are relatively safe but the numbers are growing again. I’m not in panic mode but I do want to be responsible and not contribute to any spread.

These days everything seems hard.

If you’re a parent struggling with this decision, know that you’re not alone. Know that no matter what you ultimately decide about school, you are doing what’s best for you and your family and at the end of the day, that’s all you can really do.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ColumnistComedy and Humour

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Cowichan Valley School District is holding an online session to discuss the future of Koksilah Elementary School, closed since 2013. (File photo)
What’s the future of the old Koksilah Elementary School?

The district is hoping to collect feedback on options for the future of the school.

Jim Neiser of Neiser Sales, Service & Rentals Ltd. died suddenly on Jan. 4. after suffering an apparent cardiac event at work. (Submitted photo)
Prominent Lake Cowichan businessman Jim Neiser dead at 63

Lake Cowichan Mayor Bob Day said the long-time laker will be missed.

The Judy Hill Gallery took home top prize for its window display during the Christmas season from the Downtown Duncan BIA. (Submitted photo)
Business notes: Judy Hill Gallery wins festive window display contest

A look at what’s going on in the Cowichan business community

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Duncan area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sorting food to deliver to community members isolating due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Back row from left: Philomena Wilson, Sosefina Aleck, Ethan Wilson and Lucetta Wilson. In front is Kennedy Aleck. (Submitted)
“Let’s share a meal even if I can’t sit with you”: Cowichan woman’s food drive helps feed members in isolation

Positive response to missing ceremonies and rising racism benefits dozens of households

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Concerned Island school bus driver says people still pass while red lights flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Most Read