Bonnie Cooper: Triple whammy

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Published: 11/12/2020 3:29:09 PM

Triple whammy: a parent, a teacher, a person. This situation is complex. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is not going away any time soon. As a parent, a teacher and a person with underlying medical conditions (as defined by the CDC), I look at the situation with a rational mind and open heart.

As a parent, I want my daughter, a high school senior, to reap the benefits of senior life after a culmination of 12 years of hard work and personal evolution. Going back to school, in person, this September, even for half days, every other week, made a huge difference in her social-emotional well-being. Working remotely, she can get the instruction she needs, but in-person social interaction with her friends is immeasurable.

As a teacher, I work solely with high-needs students with underlying trauma, who need the connection with teachers and school staff who understand them, accept them and know how to educate them despite their reluctancy. My students will not learn on their own. More than most students, they need the encouragement and guidance that in-person instruction offers.

As a person with underlying medical conditions, I do not want to be in a building, despite any installation of new air ventilation systems. The risk is too high, even with social distancing and health and safety precautions.

Now you see where the triple whammy lies: a parent who wants their child to have healthy social relationships with friends and peers, a teacher wanting to be with her students who need contact to help them through the barriers that restrict them from learning, and a person wanting to stay healthy. The conversation and conflict surrounding instruction during this unprecedented time is something only the history books will be able to explain after the turbulent process of trial and error, healing and reflection.

Bonnie Cooper


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