Living With Death (Plague, Day 101, June 15, 2020)

Yeah, everyone has given up. There are people partying at bars in Manhattan, attending packed protests in Brooklyn, getting Italian sausages on the Jersey boardwalk. And half the people in those crowds aren’t even bothering with masks.

Here, the former residents of Apt. 11D, are mostly keeping with the program. We are having a lot of extended family get togethers in the backyard (pictures soon), but with no hugs or kisses. We still avoid restaurants and cook mostly at home. We still only go to the supermarket once per week. Steve and the boys still work and attend school from home. Jonah’s internship with the local Representative is all online. We’re going to drive down to North Carolina all in one super long day, so we don’t have to deal with an overnight stay at a hotel.

We did go to one protest, but it wasn’t super crowded, it was outdoors, and everyone wore masks. I think it was relatively low risk.

We are giving Jonah more latitude, because he’s 21, and he needs to be around peers very badly. So, we are letting him hang out with small groups of friends from time to time. He has an evening job as a busboy lined up, which will start in a couple weeks, after the state lets restaurants open. He’ll have to take a shower and change his clothes at the end of every shift.

We’re comfortable with the status quo. It’s working for us. Steve and I could keep this up for a very long time. It’s the boys we worry about. This situation isn’t healthy for them.

So, we’ll send Jonah to school, even if classes are online, in the fall. He can do his classes from his dorm room, while socializing with people his age. Maybe he’ll go back and forth from home, so he isn’t there seven days a week. Not sure. We’ll figure out the details later.

All this is such a major disaster for poor Ian. He’s a kid who thrives on routine, structure, and challenge. All that is gone. And he’s a kid who very badly needs to be around peer role models to improve his social skills. And all that is gone, too. He needs to go back to school or camp ASAP, but there’s no relief in sight.

I don’t have any activities lined up for him for the summer. Last summer, he did some summer school, marching band camp, computer camp, and classes at the local community college. He was busy nearly the entire summer; he loves being busy. This year? I have 12 weeks of nothing. By the time he gets to September, he’ll be de-civilized. And that’s assuming that schools open in September. I probably shouldn’t be making assumptions.

Dave sent me a link with info about how schools in Arlington, VA are going to open in September. This district is going with a triage method – in-school education for those who need it more. And they have to do everything within a context of decreased education dollars.

Public education is going to be a hot mess in September. Many school districts aren’t making plans to open, because they can’t figure out how to do it. Parents are left in the dark. Teachers are refusing to go to schools. I am concerned that schools won’t open at all. Even worse, the whole system of public education is going to fall apart. This is super bad for my kid. But it’s even worse for the entire economy. How will the economy go back to normal, if half the workers are home with children?

The pressure on schools to open must be strong. If businesses, social life, churches, community affairs, and restaurants open up, then everything has to open, including schools and colleges. Education institutions can’t be the outliers.

My advice? Keep social distancing as much as you can manage. Wear your masks. Open windows every day. Flush your house of stale air. Avoid places with lots of people breathing in the same enclosed space for long periods of time — I call it the Bad Breath Law. If you are a parent, find private services to supplement your child’s education now, because you may rely on them even more in the fall. In fact, continue to grow your independence skills in all areas.

Please keep vigilant.