In the last few weeks, school administrators have sent letters to parents and guardians announcing their plans for starting school in the middle of a pandemic. In McSweeney's, Kara Baskin penned a perfect parody of those letters. As a very wise person once said, "it's funny 'cause it's true." Teachers, you have my sympathy and deep gratitude. From the letter in McSweeney's:
Rest assured that your child's teacher will suffer from crippling anxiety while seamlessly policing non-masked students, overseeing a rigorous schedule of hand-washing, and ensuring that children remain confined to a six-foot square of personal space at all times. Despite this, we aim to create a robust learning environment where your child will also absorb the finer elements of sitting in place. Note that your child's temperature will be taken every hour, and students will vacate the building approximately every 20 minutes for a thorough deep-cleaning with new, fast-tracked chemicals. Students must be tested for COVID at the first sign of illness; please return your child to us in six weeks or when results come back, whichever comes first.
This model will combine the key elements of in-person instruction (see above) with remote learning, which we hopefully perfected this spring. Your child will be divided into a cohort (A, B, AB, BC, CC, XVY, MCXLVII, and Depeche Mode) based on careful consideration of his or her learning style, social-emotional needs, friendships, and an algorithm our intern designed this summer. You will need a reliable Internet connection, a work schedule that follows no concrete pattern, a forgiving supervisor, independent wealth, or a Xanax prescription. Please contact our school nurse for the latter.
image: one-room school in 1935, Alabama (public domain)