The return to school is testing – and exhilarating – students and teachers alike. Richard Swerdlow has this Perspective.
Last month, schools in San Francisco re-opened for in-person learning after more than a year of online school. With an already existing teacher shortage worsened by the pandemic, I was sent to cover a kindergarten class for a few days.
Walking into a school after all these months, I was nervous. Five-year-olds are germy. But the school district had strict safety protocols, with daily health screenings for parents and students, and testing and vaccinations for staff.
This first day of school may have been in April, but it wasn't so different from any kindergarten day. A couple kids cried, a few couldn't decide between clay, Legos or puzzles at free time, and by 1:30, everyone was so worn out they needed a nap, including me.
But some things have changed. The jar of goldfish crackers for snack time is gone, replaced by individual packages, and masked kids sat alone and socially distanced at round tables spread far apart. The day began with hand sanitizer instead of the “Good Morning” song, since singing spreads infectious aerosols.