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COVID-19 And Back To School: Fear, Concern But Please, No Panic

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

Back To School During COVID-19

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COVID-19 And Fear

As a teacher and as a parent, it wasn't terribly difficult for me to make the decision to send my children back to school. We are fortunate enough to not have immune-compromised family members, our circle is relatively small, and we go to very few places that aren't well spaced our outdoors. My girls are also very healthy, as am I, and really, we'd all had more than enough of learning and teaching from home. I understand that what we're dealing with is a virus and therefore somewhat unpredictable.

Because this is an enemy - biological in nature, but still one designed to do damage of varying degrees to those afflicted with it - that's unseen and one we're continuing to learn about, there's a lot of fear that gets generated from that. We don't know when there will be an end to this COVID-19 craziness. Some with it are asymptomatic while others get serious symptoms. There does not appear to be any predictability to any of this - except, of course, the certainty that comes with recognizing this is unpredictable in nature.

The uncertainty, however, drives fear. There's no question. No matter how much we might claim that we are individuals that go with the flow and take change as it comes, we are generally a species that will thrive on routine. As a result, COVID-19 and everything that goes with it is causing significant mental health issues, and sometimes, we forget that. It's easy to be insular and forget that so many others have real and significant concerns when it comes to COVID-19; there are those with varying degrees of being immunocompromised or have loved ones who are. There are those who lost loved ones in recent years, so a global pandemic that has resulted in deaths will certainly generate a great deal of fear. There are those who work on the front lines of this health crisis, whether in a grocery store, a medical clinic, or an ambulance, and they have to deal with that fear daily, with varying degrees of success.

We do have to recognize that our concerns regarding this global pandemic are not those of others. We have to recognize that if someone has different concerns, that it's all right that that's happening and that we have no right as completely different people to belittle or mock those who have very real fears and concerns. That just leads to disconnection from each other and estrangement as people. While we are trying our best to get through the day and mitigate the effects this virus has on our lives, we also have to recognize the best way to do that is through supporting each other.

We also should acknowledge those who are recognizing there's a lot to be concerned about with this virus, but who are trying to take it with a healthy dose of reality. These individuals see the statistics and understand the safety protocols that are necessary to get through our daily lives but can't afford to let fear rule the day. They are those that recognize that their approach to life with COVID doesn't mean that they take the virus and its implications any less seriously, but that recognize a cautious and not fearful approach to life is what's needed. They wear masks properly, use sanitizer, and maintain social distances. They don't gather in giant groups where they are unmasked. They know doing otherwise will completely undo the hard work that was started back in March for those of us in North America, at least, when many of us were quarantined because the focus was on getting the numbers down and not overwhelming our hospitals.

It will take all of us continuing to direct our focus towards helping each other and supporting each other through this in order to get to the other side. We are, unfortunately, going to be living in the shadows of COVID-19 for some time to come, and there is a lot more to be gained by supporting each other rather than questioning our respective reasons for our fears or concerns. We know the statistics at this point, and we know there is a lot more to be learned about this virus that has derailed so much in all our lives.

Can we not work towards giving each other some peace in these times in spite of our fears?