Letter to the editor: G-C took courageous stand to keep schools open

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To the editor:

(F)ailure to take on the job of reopening would be not only anti-scientific but also an unacceptable breach of duty.” When I read those words in former Gov. Mitch Daniels’ May 25, 2020, Washington Post op-ed, I felt the surge of a feeling that had become too unfamiliar. Hope. At that time, we were just emerging from our lockdown state. A new world greeted us, and the overwhelming emotion was one of uncertainty. Would any semblance of “normal” ever be a reality again? Reading Gov. Daniels’ ambitious yet careful plan to reopen Purdue University allowed me to hope again — hope that at least my kids would have a chance to resume their lives in the not-too-distant future, see their friends, and experience the excitement of a new school year.

As the summer drew on and the pandemic seemed to be under control in Indiana, those hopes started to become a reality. We were cautiously optimistic. We went school shopping, registered the kids for school, and responded to surveys from our home district — Greenfield-Central School Corporation –regarding reopening schools. If “Yes I will send my kids to schools and I don’t care how it has to happen just please figure out a way to do it I will do anything to make it work and keep everyone as safe as possible” were an option as a blanket response to those surveys, that would have been the only option I needed. My kids were ready to get back to life as they knew it before the pandemic, and I could not blame them.

Then, as the beginning of everyone’s school years approached, the news came: A lot of schools were delaying their start dates. We were dejected. Yet, we were still hopeful. Greenfield-Central had not signaled any delays in the July 31 start date, which was among the earliest in the state. Would they start on time? My husband and I jokingly made bets with friends about whether July 31 would become Aug. 31 (or any date in between). Then, the day finally came. July 31. And the kids went to school.

I say all of this to say how grateful we are for the Greenfield-Central’s commitment to keeping schools open this year. It would have been easier to shutter schools, revert to e-learning, and not worry about positive cases, cohort groups, contact tracing, whether there would be enough staff to fill the classrooms and the innumerable other variables presented by resuming school during a pandemic. Indeed, closing schools — which was certainly an option available to the administration — would have been the best, least stressful option for the adults in charge. But, opening schools is not about the adults in charge. It is about the kids and what is best for them. Clearly, the adults in charge at Greenfield-Central know that, and their continuous display of selflessness is demonstrated daily by their commitment to keeping in-person instruction a reality for our kids. The Greenfield-Central School Board, administration and all of the staff deserve our unbridled appreciation for all of the work they have done for our kids this year.

Emily Jocham