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April Jeppson: To return to school or not to return to school

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


I don’t want to talk about this. I’m so over this. I just want to write about silly nonsense. I am naturally drawn to seeing the good in even the worst situations, so maybe this will be one of those times. I’m not sure. I just need to write and get this off my chest.

I have waited so long for the governor to tell us what we should do. There were talks of him giving us information two weeks ago, but nothing. I have listened to our neighboring states give their going-back-to-school plans. I have tried my best not to worry or overthink because, honestly, there was nothing I could do until I found out what the governor said.

When he spoke and basically said each school district can do what they feel is best for their students and staff, I was disappointed. Why did it take him this long to basically say to use common sense and do what you want. School starts in just over three weeks. Yesterday I didn’t know if my children were distance learning, hybrid or in-person. Yesterday I didn’t know if I’m suppose to be buying back-to-school clothes for my kids or if their PJs would suffice. Yesterday I was under the impression that the governor was going to present to us a nicely laid-out plan, not give us common-sense guidelines.

I am super thankful for our school district and the hours they’ve been working behind the scenes to provide us with the best options. I feel bad for the parents with anxiety who continue to stress over what they should do with their families. I feel bad for anyone who doesn’t have a clear idea as to whether their children should return or continue distance learning.

I’ll be honest. I can send my kids to school or have them do it online. My job is flexible and my children did really well with the spring distance learning program. It would be fairly easy to keep them home. My family is reasonably healthy with no underlying issues, so sending them to school where they would be in contact with others does not scare me or even make me nervous. So I still don’t know if I need to go buy school clothes for my kids.

I’m a coach. Two months ago, when some of the restrictions were lifted, we were able to get back into small group practice. We have to wear masks and use a ton of hand sanitizer. It was awkward at first but eventually you get used to it. My students were engaged in physical activity, so they didn’t have to wear the masks. All and all, I consider it a win. The kids got to see some of their friends and participate in some activities out of the house. I got to interact with people I didn’t live with, and that felt awesome. I don’t think introverts realize how heavy these last four months have been for their extrovert friends.

In reflection, I’m probably mostly mad at COVID. See, I can’t even be mad at the governor because what does he really know? He’s just like the rest of us. Doing his research, talking to experts, asking for guidance — but then ultimately, he had to just go for it.

No matter what you decided, I hope you know you’re not alone. This is stressful for even the most laid-back of us. It’s scary to know that only hindsight will let us know if we made the correct choice. But here’s the thing. If you really ponder and pray and move forward with your decision knowing that you’re doing the best you can do, that’s really all you can do. Whatever you go with is the correct choice for your family. Be positive for your kids, no matter what you decide. Find the good in your decision and allow others to do the same. We all have unique situations, yet ultimately we’re all in this together.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.