Of the approximately 440 students in our building, three opted to move to remote learning rather than wear masks. I happen to have all three in my classes. They all Zoomed in during their first "missed' class, and I did my best to help them feel welcomed and included.
This is tough. Masking during a pandemic, according to health experts, is needed if people want to move about socially. As evidenced in school Friday, most are willing to comply with a rule designed to contain spread of the virus.
Nevertheless, if students and/or their families choose to move to remote learning rather than wear masks, I want them to know I respect their nonviolent expression of their opinions.
"I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
--Voltaire, paraphrased by his biographer.
In Intro to Journalism, we study the Tinker vs. Des Moines Supreme Court decision that assures students their civil rights (including free speech and press) while at school. As we study the case, we learn how a small group of students expressed their opinions (wearing black armbands to protest the Viet Nam war) despite the consequences: in this case, school suspension.
I cannot support students' political expression only when it aligns with mine. Supporting my non-masking students is important to me in maintaining my ethical equilibrium.
So while I support our district's decision to require masking when public space, I also support my non-masking students' choice to stay home and attend school remotely.
I'm walking a tightrope.
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
--F. Scott Fitzgerald
Today is Saturday. It was only 30 degrees when I headed to the trail for my run this morning. I donned three layers of shirts/jackets, gloves, a gator, as well as three headbands (one fleece). The sun was out, the wind minimal. I planned to run four miles, but I felt good went for six, since tomorrow's weather is forecasted to be colder and snowy.
I then rode my unicycle!
There are many aspects of my life that are diminished by this pandemic. I haven't held my grandson. I can't teach the way I want to. I can't play the accordion with my mother-in-law. I still haven't held my dear friend's baby (now nearly four months old) or seen her new house. I can't visit my kids. I can't hug my neighbor; we have coffee on the phone. I missed my aunts' funerals. I've missed three weddings. My face feels chapped under my mask. Everything. Is. More. Difficult.
So bear with me when I try to find ways my life has IMPROVED during the past six months, including the reason I'm compelled to write about time on the trail today:
- I've regained fitness through running that has given me the confidence to ride my unicycle after avoiding it for two years.
- I have simplified my life.
- I reestablished relationships with my parents.
My glowing daughter-in-law with Wolf,
determined to suck his thumb even through his hoodie.