In my sister’s case, as in many others, the school board delayed its decision about mask wearing until the very last minute. It also reversed course: After saying two weeks ago masks would be encouraged but optional, the board held a 4.5 hour public meeting this week, which ended with the announcement that they would require them.
And then, said my sister, “People flipped out.” Those opposed to masks are now promising boycotts, walkouts and protests in front of the school. Threats being made online suggest even worse. My sister looks on, feeling helpless as she thinks about her three children, two of whom have had to endure this seemingly endless combat for most of high school. “It’s just, when does it end?” she said to me.
The question is particularly acute for parents of younger children. They have spent most of the last 18 months trying to negotiate the changing needs of their children’s education and well-being while also managing their own jobs and health. And while teenagers and adults have been able to enjoy much greater freedom since getting vaccinated, there is no vaccine yet for children under 12.
I spoke to 10 parents from across the country to hear how they are doing in the midst of it all. While their situations varied greatly—sometimes to the point that it seemed like they lived in different countries—what I found were people wanting to be hopeful, trying to keep perspective and yet also in many cases anxious, frustrated and exhausted by their schools, states, fellow parents and our current reality….
‘When does it end?’ Parents on the most stressful back-to-school season of the pandemichttps://t.co/aN3zVqEEe7
— America Magazine (@americamag) August 31, 2021