April is around the corner and while we would normally be counting down the days until school lets out for the summer, we have changed our conversations. We’ve gone from talking about upcoming vacations or the cute new top that we got at our favorite local boutique to talking about a virus and little else.
Just over two weeks ago I went out for dinner with my girlfriends. We went into Josephine’s for Italian food and tried to keep the conversation fun. We tried our best to talk about life and catch up with each other but the conversation always came back to what the future held with the coronavirus. One of my friends is moving into a new home. Another friend is planning her wedding. I have a new baby. Those are all things that we would joyfully talk about for hours on a normal day but instead we talked about a virus. Earlier that week I sat at the beach with another group of friends that I don’t get to see as often. We all have plenty of goodness in our lives to discuss but our focus was entirely on the virus.
Two weeks later, conversations are still heavily influenced by a virus for most of us. There’s one group of local people whose conversations haven’t changed: Dare County Schools.
You see, back in December they were having conversations about how to educate our children well while keeping them safe. Remember back in December when our schools were placed on lockdowns or when they closed for a day to investigate an online threat? Our amazing local teachers and administrators were there for our kids while they educated them and kept them safe. In fact, I was in an elementary classroom with my 1st grader when one of these scares took place and I watched as her incredible teachers jumped into action. I watched them as they took the necessary steps to educate my daughter while keeping her safe. Begging the tears in my eyes not to fall, I followed their directions and watched as two teachers selflessly put the safety of my child before their own. There was this sigh of relief and immense gratitude in the room after the school was cleared and as a hugger, I know I probably invaded the personal bubble of these two incredible teachers.
Now, they’re back in the similar shoes. Something is threatening our children and our community but this time it isn’t a social media threat or a false alarm, it is a virus. Our school superintendent and our teachers dove in head first last week and put together a plan to educate our children while keeping them safe. You see, while our conversations are always changing, their conversations are always the same. I’m blown away by the way that local educators have reached out to me and my children. I have emails from my 15 year old son’s Honors English teacher where she doesn’t just address the upcoming expectations for her class but she addresses that she wants to protect her students mental and physical health. As I read that email in the same room as my children, I found myself begging the tears in my eyes not to fall down my cheeks again.
Moving an entire school system to a remote learning platform doesn’t happen overnight. It was a huge effort for all of these incredible local people and most of them were adjusting to their new normal while working from home and with their own children to care for. In addition to all of the work that our school staff did on the remote education front this week, they still managed to put a plan in place to feed hundreds of local kids at no cost. Last week alone they served well over 300 meals and plan to continue to feed our local children while school is out. For more information on this program, click here.
In this time of uncertainty in our community, there is one thing I am certain of, we are all fortunate to have our local teachers and administrators! If you are able to support our local school district, please head over to the Dare Education Foundation to donate directly. With many of their annual fundraisers being postponed, let’s support them as well as they have always supported us.
To our teachers, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for educating our children while keeping them safe.