GALION — Monday’s decision to keep K-12 classrooms across the state closed for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year was met with mixed emotions by readers who responded to a post on the Galion Inquirer Facebook page.
For the most part, there was a lot of understanding about the decision to put the health and safety of Ohio students, their teachers and their families above all else.
There was also was some anger expressed, along with a lot of disappointmentby parents, students, teachers and others.
Terry Wilcox of Galion echoed the thoughts of many: “I am a grandparent with three grandchildren: one high school, one intermediate, and one primary. I’m happy with the decision for safety sake. I would feel terrible if any of the kids or staff got sick or spread it to others. Going back for one month of schooling in the face of an on-going pandemic makes absolutely no sense to me. I feel awful for this year’s senior class and all the spring athletes who are being robbed of an opportunity to experience things that — under ordinary circumstances — sis something to look forward to with great excitement and anticipation. I hope that once we get the clearance to gather safely again, we can somehow try to make it up to them. Perhaps some summer athletic tournaments, dances and recognition ceremonies. We’re all treading on uncharted territory right now and there’s no playbook to work from. Hopefully, we can all make the best of it for everyone’s sake!”
The idea of not having a traditional graduation or prom is a difficult pill to swallow for some.
Kiersten Skyler Gifford: Hopefully prom can still happen in the summer especially for the seniors and hopefully graduation still goes on, except at a later date.
Others feel like putting off graduation is a mistake, and not necessary.
Theresa Bowersock Sword said: “… I have grandchildren in high school. I never said seniors didn’t deserve acknowledgement, because they definitely do. But there’s no need to put off getting their diploma on the day they’re suppose because you think you need to have the stands full of people. Doesn’t make it any less important. They’ve already had their senior year abruptly ended, so why delay them celebrating getting their diploma?
But others pointed out that graduations are more than just programs. They are a sense of pride to students who are going above and beyond. They are a place were graduates are acknowledged for their hard work.
Jaime Zeger: “The point is they won’t have the opportunity for the memories. A diploma is obviously the most important thing. However, it’s the recognition of years of hard work. My daughter is a senior at Northmor, would have been a four-year letter winner in softball, was a two-year letterman in volleyball, member of FFA, four-year member of show choir, student council, class officer, was inducted into the national Honor Society as a sophomore and was co-president of National Honor Society and has a huge amount of college courses checked off the list. She has worked hard in and outside of school. She wanted the memories. She knows the rest of us are going to be there for her. She knows mom and dad and her brother and sisters will be there for her. She wanted the memories. The memory of having her last choir concert and getting recognized for four years of effort and dedication. She will miss the comradeship with her classmates as they transition into their new roles in life. They will possibly miss their senior prom and will miss senior week, making fun memories that they can look back on. Of course, life will go on. But, having a graduation with mom and dad isn’t anywhere the same. We are still planning her graduation party at the end of June. However, with social distancing/lockdown restrictions it puts us all on the edge of the seat, wondering if that is all in vain. I am well aware of the rhyme and reason for these restrictions. However, the rest of us cannot tell how these seniors should feel. This is completely out of their control, not a self made issue or consequence. A lot of them feel helpless, hopeless and robbed. No cake from a bakery or celebration with mom and dad are going to make those up those lost memories.
Misa Rae: As a parent of a senior it’s heartbreaking. I agree with the safety, but it’s hard. We were looking forward to senior breakfast, prom and graduation. These kids have been planning and waiting for this for 13 years. It’s disappointing, these kids lost what was supposed to be the best time of their lives. The class of 2020 came into this world thru a tragedy (9/11), and they are going out in a pandemic. They are strong! But they are hurting. Senior parents are hurting and feel cheated. It’s an emotional time. Hopefully our schools can work something out at a later time to honor these kids, let them have a prom and a graduation.
Parents also are feeling the pain of being teachers.
Suzanne Wilson said she understands the schools having to be shut own, however: “I truly hate being the teacher. but I want my kids to stay safe.”
Others pointed out that as much as students miss their friends and classrooms, school staff have those same feelings about not seeing students each day..
Mel Schaffner: “While I am not a teacher, I am a support staff member at Bucyrus Elementary School (5th grade). I absolutely love the time I get with students. I enjoy working with the rest of the 5th grade team. I do agree that not returning to traditional classroom learning is what is best for the health and safety of our staff and students, it doesn’t make it any easier on those of us who love and enjoy pouring into students daily. Supporting students emotionally and educationally as they try and wrap their heads around the current culture is so important. As a mom of an elementary school age daughter (in Galion), I have to keep in perspective that she is a kid and it is important not to expect her to handle this unprecedented time with the coping skills of an adult. Kids need to navigate their emotions in their own ways, and we need to be a support to them.”
The talk and discussions will continue into the summer and school administrators come up with graduation plans. No decisions have yet been announced.
Email Russ Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org