Weekday mornings pre covid would be a mayhem. Get up early. It would be a competition between the sun and the moms. And most of the times, moms would win. Pack up lunch boxes before you wake up the kids. Prepare their breakfast while you constantly shout from the kitchen to keep them on their toes.
While serving them breakfast keep a constant eye on the time ticking away. The craziest would be the race for lift. With only 4 lifts for 13 floor building, morning times lifts would be occupied as most of the school buses arrived during the same window. So you had to time yourself a minimum 10 minutes before the expected bus arrival. At times due to a lift snag, you would reach down and find bus arriving in front of you. 2 more minutes to the stop and it would mean another jog for you till the sleepy child drags his bag.
Today morning, my child went for the 1st face to face class in the school after 6 months. How times have changed? Less number of students, and the school has to manage both online and onsite classes so school is delayed by 45 minutes. This is welcome change because you no longer have to start shouting before sunrise.
I woke up as I would at my usual school day hour. Prepared his lunch boxes at a relaxed pace. Gave one alarm reminder and then I was put to snooze for 10 minutes. The child woke up happy. He no longer had to rush up things in 20 minutes. So not much reminders from mom. Got ready at a relaxed pace, ate breakfast slowly and was still ready 15 min before time.
You no longer have to run for lift, as most kids are still opting for online. So you once more check for water bottle, lunch box, extra masks, sanitizer, pencil box.
When we reached down, there was no rush of kids, no rush of yellow school buses. Infact, if someone would be watching us, they would be wondering ” Why are they sending him school ? Can’t they opt for online too?”
When the bus came, he was the only kid. The bus helper took his temperature, gave him his new ID card and escorted him to the seat. As I prepped inside, the bus was empty. I waved my son goodbye. I could see a few buses on roads.
What has the world come to in a matter of few months? Earlier school opening would be a frenzy. Back to school sales would lure kids. School bags, stationary and all the fancy stuff would be off the shelves in no time.
This year back to school was more profitable for the devices, tablets, laptops and so on.
My heart goes to the million of poor kids around the world who have been left stranded without schools, esp in my home country where cases are still multiplying exponentially. For many of those kids, school is the way to the midday meal. School is a window for them to uplift themselves out of poverty. Many boys would be pulled to workforce, girls would be married off.
Even the well to do families would deal with consequences of too much online later with issues of mental and physical health.
Hope this covid wave passes soon, and the world returns to the new normal.
A few tips for students returning to school ( not online )
- Wear your masks all the time. The mask should cover your nose and face. If you get too overwhelmed, find a quiet corner where you are alone and away from others and remove the mask for a few minutes.
- Touch your mask only with the threads. Do not touch the front or back of the mask.
- Do not share your belongings.
- Use sanitizer /handwash frequently.
- While playing or catching up with your friends, maintain proper distance. Do not hug or handshake. Elbow bumps are the new in.
- Sit on your assigned seats and take charge in sanitizing them.
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