Monday, July 27, 2020


Returning kids to school has many components.  The CDC can't decide whether it's better for students to spend hours a day in sanitized bubbles, trying to learn to spell while not infecting themselves or others, or to stay at home without access to the internet, meals, or an actual living, breathing, trained adult to help them.

The fact that the need for schools and teachers is being conflated with the need for child care for working parents makes me too angry to type.  Los Angeles is setting up spaces to warehouse these children, sitting them socially distanced in cafeterias and gymnasiums and auditoriums and music rooms, superivsed by aides.  FlapJilly's district send a hundred gazillion attachments covering everything from the bus to the playground in the emails Little Cuter's receiving.

This is not going well.

In my little corner of the world, GRIN  is trying to bridge the digital divide (if someone could figure out what's needed we'd be glad to help foot the bill) while commiserating on-line with my teacher friends.  They miss the classroom, the students, their colleagues.... and they don't want to die.

Amdst all this arises the issue of masks.  The quilters in Tucson are being most generous; hundreds of kid sized masks are being made available to me (and others) just for the asking.  Not-Kathy's a quilter who does not make masks, but she's my conduit to those who do.  In a town like ours, with two degrees of separation between a need and an answer, she's my mask life-line.

But, as the principal and I were discussing on the phone last week, how do we keep those masks attached to those kids?  They'll have to take them off to eat.  They'll be permitted to take them off on the playground if they are playing far away from anyone else.  Not everyone has pockets ... or pockets without holes. Do they toss them all in a heap and then each one grab one at the end?

Double clip lanyard were the answer we came up with, with bulldog pincers instead of a j-hook clip, on a black flat cloth that will feel soft around young necks.  Finding the right price, conveying my need in a pitiful tone to customer service clerks on Chat functions, doing the math on random scraps of paper on my still almost-clean desk..... the project kept me busy from Friday through the weekend.  I placed the order on Monday; the box of 700 lanyards arrived on Saturday.
My plan was to spend that money on books for the kindergarten classrooms.  I've been collecting titles (thanks to long-time denizen dkzody for the tips) and was looking forward to spending a productive afternoon at Bookmans and Barnes and Noble, turning donated dollars into stories to share.

But I won't be sitting on the grown up chair in front of 20 little faces at a time... not anytime soon, at least.  Garden Club may be happening, but even that is still unsettled.  If in-person learning ever does start here in Tucson, I fear it will intermittent at best - how many classrooms will find a substitute ready to step into the fray if the teacher becomes ill?

So I swallowed my sorrow and spent the money on safety equipment.  

I. Spent. Money. On. Safety. Equipment.

Not your tax dollars, local or state or federal.  Not funds allocated from the public pot to the public good. Nope.  Donations sent by caring individuals, people who wanted to put books and plants and fun in front of kids are being use for safety equipment.

It wasn't a lot of money.  I still have lots left to give.  But I'd rather be dropping off Crayola's new Colors of the World  
than lanyards to keep masks on necks when kids don't need them covering their noses and mouths.

Is 2020 over yet?


  1. It's a lose lose right now. To me, children need the contact with other children and it's really more important than the teachers. It used to be that home schoolers got their kids into sports or other things to get that. Now, they can't do that either. The other thing is most parents worry their kids are online too much and this just makes it worse. This virus has been such a tragedy for so many.

    1. "Too Much Screen Time" is an issue for non-pandemic times. At this point, anything that keeps the kids occupied and safe so the parents can work is okay. Missing friends is the key; I can't wait to see how they keep them 6' apart on the playground.

  2. The lanyards seem to be a very good solution to the mask problem. I hope there's a way to share it for when kids might actually be able to return to a physical school.As you know, opening school is such a very complex issue.

    1. Our Governor has finally decided to delay the in-person opening AND is not cutting funding if there is no on campus instruction. Answers are hard to come by.


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!