I will admit, the potentially permanent Virtual Pathways program offered by MUSD freaked me out back in July. I thought, The pandemic is ending…why give the option to continue isolation? Will those kids slip through the cracks? How will they prevent cheating? Will parents that are neglectful just sign their kids up for Virtual Pathways to not have to bother with school? Will kids who are getting abused remain unseen because they remain in isolation?
I felt worried for kids in Virtual Pathways and what Virtual Pathways would mean for the future of education. I still wonder about some of those things. I wonder about a lot of things lately:
What does Delta mean for our elementary school kids? What does it look like when an outbreak happens? Is in-person learning just a ticking time bomb?
I know for a fact that we all wonder about a lot of things, based on the virtual back-to-school night held a couple of weeks ago, hosted by my children’s MUSD elementary principal. I had one question that was awaiting a reply. The meeting went an hour over, with dozens of COVID protocol-related questions (some hostile) being answered. Our principal graciously stayed beyond an extra hour to answer several — yet many remained, including mine. This is the year of questions, some of which don’t have any good answers.
There are many reasons that I am proud of the way MUSD has handled this academic year so far. One just happens to be the thing that I felt most skeptical of the necessity for: Virtual Pathways. With variants of COVID sprouting and elementary-aged kids still unvaccinated, our district offering Virtual Learning this year was, in my opinion, an excellent call. I also applaud MUSD School Board Trustee Chris Norwood, who I have been in communication with about my concerns over the reopening plans and my questions about Virtual Pathways: he always listens and is always responsive.
Our school is willing to work with families to ensure everyone’s safety within and comfort with the protocols. I feel like the welfare of my family is in good hands, and any time I have voiced concerns, they have been addressed.
Of course, fears, doubts, and question marks remain…this is still a pandemic, after all. We still don’t know enough about Delta…or COVID…or the vaccines…
What I do know is that any time I have wanted to know something or pushed back against something I’ve disagreed with, I have been met with listening ears. I am sure MUSD’s teachers, principals, and school board members have heard the myriad concerns and questions from parents many times, and yet they are still meeting us with patience and grace.
So thank you, MUSD, for keeping the lines of communication open and the answers coming in a year that’s been full of questions.