By Ken De Laat
Last week while walking through a store the merchandise suddenly shifted as if there had been some type of dimensional transposition when everything is somewhat the same but different. I walked in and passed suntan lotion, sandals, beach toys etc.just minding my own business when catching an all too familiar scent
Even through my Detroit Tigers themed mask (I know, I’m a sucker for lost causes) I knew at first whiff what it was.
As I spun around all manner of summer related merchandise had been unceremoniously relocated to a clearance corner and in their prime location placed in the center aisle materialized a variety of wares in orange, brown and black. Halloween decor dominated, sweaters lay where shorts had been and of course there were all kinds of pumpkin spice items everywhere. From candles to cookies to cereal to yogurt the distinctive aroma of autumn dominated the scene.
I departed the scene, determined to fend off any notion of summer taking its leave so early. I mean seriously wasn’t the 4th just a couple weeks ago? Hasn’t the baseball season just begun?
Well, actually the baseball season truly has just begun and is now nearly halfway over but that’s another story.
August, and with it summer, is coming to a screaming end and I’m just not ready.
And while I have always loved fall this year, as with all things, is a tad different.
In most years September would mean spending a weekend at the Irish Music Fest in Muskegon where the Cedar Creek Cloggers (LSC Lil’s dance group) would perform in the afternoon leaving ample time for enjoying the many festivities surrounding the music including imbibing in enough Guinness to justify the decision made months earlier to secure overnight accommodations within walking distance of Heritage Park.
It might mean taking a cruise over to Remus on a Sunday to catch the tail end of the Wheatland Festival, an extravaganza of eclectic experiences we began attending in 1976 when the crowds were some 12,000 less than in more recent years. There are many memories brought to mind when arriving at the site and though some are fuzzier than others- particularly those forged during younger and significantly, uh, adventurous years- they are indeed fond ones.
Friday night Lights have dominated my autumns for the past couple of decades and enjoying the variety of vittles brought to the press box (Grant always has seriously great grub!) creates an epicurean experience as a go-with for the drama unfolding on the field below. There’s something just so, I don’t know, fallish I guess, about a high school football game.
The season often sees us traveling. We were in PEI last year, did a lengthy and loose road trip the year before and Ireland, long looming as an upcoming autumnal destination was being considered before…
So I considered whether this year’s reluctant ramble into what is truly the state’s most glorious season has been influenced by lamentations of unrealized undertakings, obstructed opportunities, and jilted journeys.
Well, we can’t go to the Irish Fest, Wheatland, nor a high school gridiron event to be sure.
But hey, with a little caution and a tankful of gas we can certainly do some traveling, right?
A return to Georgian Bay?
Nope. Can’t get into Canada.
White Water Rafting in West Virginia?
Hmm. A candidate to be sure but perhaps more of a spring thing.
New York? Hit the city, do some Broadway plays and...
Oh that's right, no shows.
We need a place where there’s lots to do, lots to see, interesting people, possible adventures lurking about and, and…
I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never been to Copper Harbor, never kayaked Pictured Rocks and through the many travels to our bipeninsular partner, never explored the wonders of Marquette.
But all three will undoubtedly bite the bucket list dust this fall.
Knowing we’ll be road tripping kind of makes the whole pumpkin spice thing more tolerable and besides, I’m going to enjoy it along with the Halloween decor for awhile because looming in storage ready to hit the shelves on November 1?
You got it.
And I’m just not ready.
To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, I am Rob Schuitema and I am running for a position on the Grant Public School Board.
Grant has been my home for many years and I love this community. I grew up here and graduated from Grant High School in 1991. My family has been involved in GPS in many ways, dating back to the 1960’s when my father began teaching and later when my mother began working as an administrative assistant. Continuing to this day, with my brother and sister-in-law as educators. Education has been a part of our family’s lives since the beginning, it is a passion that I was born with. The topic often dominated conversations at coffee time when I was a kid and still does at family gatherings now. Soon after graduating high school, I found my way to Arizona, attending college at the University of Arizona, graduating with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts and traveling around this beautiful country.
In the spring of 2003, I moved back to the area and was searching for the next steps in my career. Grant Public Schools staff and administration, with the help of my father, gave me an opportunity to grow and learn about being a professional educator. This had a great impact on my life and helped me to have the career I have today. I worked in every building as a regular and long-term substitute teacher for 2 years. Additionally, I was able to spend two years working with the afterschool program as a group leader and art teacher, this also led to my involvement with the summer enrichment program where I taught art, photography and theater.
I took on the role of Youth and Cultural Enrichment Director in 2006 with Newaygo County Community Services (NCCS) – now True North. While there, I was able to stay actively involved with the county and GPS, specifically with the Music and Regional Art Scholarship contests, and the summer enrichment programming through Boys and Girls Club.
In 2008, I took a position at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, where I have been for the last 11 years. I have spent most of my time there as the Director of Education. In 2019, I was promoted to the Director of Public Programs.
During my tenure at the Museum, I have made it my mission to bring Newaygo County students, focusing on Grant Public Schools, to the Museum through grant driven STEAM programs and scholarships for field trip bussing and special exhibits. Additionally, I helped implement the Grand History Lesson program that brings classrooms to the Museum for a week. This program “transforms” the Museum into their classroom to encourage place-based and experiential learning. Grant was one of the first pilot schools and participated in the program for 4 years. This morphed into the Museum's current Immerse Programthat grew from 6 pilot classrooms to over 53 classrooms each year for the last 6 years. This program was also the foundation for the Grand Rapids Public School Museum School, a 6th - 12th grade place based and Design Thinking school model.
I also took the experience I gained at GPS and NCCS to direct Camp Curious, the Museum’s summer camp program and have worked to grow it from 150 to 900 kids. In the spring of 2020, we were challenged with designing a virtual camp experience due to Covid-19, something that has never been done in the 166-year history of the institution. Over 230 kids participated in our virtual camps. This distance learning model led us to form a partnership with DA Blodgett St. John's Home and the Helen DeVos Children’s hospital to provide remote learning experiences for those who are not able to do in-person programs.
At each step of my career path, I have thought about ways to show gratitude to GPS for the opportunities they gave me. I would be honored to give back to this community by being elected to serve on the Grant Public School Board. I came home to Grant and was given an opportunity to grow and learn. My wife, Faune, also a GPS graduate, and I, chose to raise our family here. Our two daughters, Cyanne, a Sophomore and Cora, a 6th grader, both attend GPS and love it. I want to help create a fun, caring, compassionate, and educational environment for all students and staff at Grant Public Schools. Education is my passion and it is the way to a better future.
By Tim McGrath
“I’ve been watching, and you pick your feet up pretty good when you walk. I see a lot of older people who don’t do that.” -
A compliment I recently received in the grocery store….
It just happens. In the twinkling of an eye. Suddenly, those smile lines around the eyes have become deep crevasses, joining their colleagues winding their way along cheeks, hairline, and neck. Where once there was one chin, two show up along with a dangly turkey wattle added in for good measure. Jowly, they say. Harumph, I say back. I’ve learned I have something called crepey skin; who knew? And, adding to the festivities, granddaughter recently informed me, through uproarious laughter, that I have man-boobs. Little stinker. Hmmm…, now that I think of it maybe I could use a little support up top. It’s another niggling reminder that time is definitely not on my side, in spite of how The Stones keep reassuring me it is.
So here I am, looking at this newly minted Medicare baby staring back in the mirror, not at all resembling that eighteen-year-old kid from 1973. But, no mind. They’re just numbers, right? Right. Like so many of us good-feet-picker-uppers what we see in the mirror is just an oldster shell for the kid still lurking in there somewhere. We’re Baby Boomers, we’re never going to get old, man. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with. Right again.
All this reminds me lots of water’s flowed under my bridge, and I think on those people, places, and things that helped shape me. The wonderful things, the tough ones, too. Of people come and gone, of parents and friends no longer here. The things that seemed so critical at the time, but really weren’t. Of worries that had happy endings, and the ones that didn’t. Childhood fully lived, teen years endured, young adults trying to figure it out, middle age building and growing careers. Children raised, grown, gone. Retirement years filled with possibilities.
Lately, though, I’ve especially spent time looking way back into the years of childhood and those wonderful summers of the 60’s and early 70’s. Images of the goofy antics of my friends and me bring a smile and a laugh. Maybe I’ve spent too much time there, I don’t really know for sure. My psychologist friends might say it’s a coping mechanism to help deal with the craziness happening around us from all corners. At any rate, it’s a pleasant place to visit. Those charmed summer days of childhood that meant no school, and the endless possibilities of days stretched out before us with nothing but what our little minds could conjure up. Just had to be back home when the streetlights came on….
Ah, summer; sweet, sweet summer.
Cane poles and crawlers,
Falstaff beer and Dad’s Dutch Master cigars.
Sticky hot evenings sitting on still warm concrete steps,
the day’s heat warming legs and bottoms.
Nighthawks calling, diving, wings roaring above the school across the street,
Rose colored sky melting into purply indigo.
Forts in the lilac bushes,
Scientists busy at work.
Raiding neighbors’ burning barrels,
Hauling empty Bud bottles in squeaky red wagons.
Silver Salutes, M-80s, Cherry Bombs, Zebras and Black Cats,
Smoke, fire, noise. Perfect.
Figuring out the differences between boys and girls,
Moms explaining the birds and bees; no kidding, wow.
Sprinklers to run through,
Brown grass prickling still tender toes.
Plastic pools filled with dirty water and grass clippings,
The place to see if beetles and ants can swim.
Naughty kids with magnifying glasses and ants,
Burning holes everywhere.
Entire rolls of caps pounded with hammers,
Eenie-Einie-Over next door,
Becoming the champions of the world.
Work up, Five-dollars,
No do-overs, either.
Peddling dad’s blueberries up and down streets,
Supposed to be a good idea.
Briggs and Stratton belching blue smoke,
Get the choke just right, there it goes.
Cut it every week, even if it is brown,
And make sure the lines are straight.
Nik-L-Nips in wax bottles,
Squish between teeth, juice blasting out.
Ever try putting Fizzies in your mouth?
How about a whole bag of SweetTarts?
Sniping Gary’s dad’s cigarette butts,
Light ‘em up, faces blushing green.
Sgt. Rock, Archie, and Superman comic books,
Saving, saving, saving, only 12 cents a copy, 25 for the doubles.
Bike riding to Lamar Park,
The ‘ol swimming hole,
Learning to swim,
Secretly peeking at girls in bikinis.
Lying for hours in backyards,
Imagining life on those clouds.
I want to walk on that mountain over there.
Hey, that one looks like your dad’s big nose!
Grandma’s rhubarb patch,
Sugar bowl in hand,
Don’t eat the leaves whatever you do.
Mom says try this, it’s good,
White bread, butter, sugar,
A sugar sandwich, who knew?
Launching model rockets into trees,
A little off course.
Stuck in the branches by the kites.
Slot cars and model building,
Always, always, always, parts left over.
What’s that you say, it’s September?
Hot and stiff.
White, white PF Flyers,
So long summer,
See you next year.
Hey, wait up!
By Ken DeLaat
“Football is the ballet of the masses.”-Dmitri Shostakovich
No football. From yardmarkers to milemarkers?
Wow. Just like that the fall sports scene took a hit when the Big Ten, the MAC, the GLIAC and the MIAA (oldest college conference in the country, by the way) all pulled the proverbial plug on the football season and days later the MHSAA decided a shifting of seasons was in order for high schools as well, opting for spring football.
Spring football is nothing new since it’s known to be akin to a religion in certain southern states, but it’s certainly new to the Mitten that, like 14 other states and the District of Columbia (so far), have made this seasonal adjustment. Many of these already have start dates in March and in a couple of states, February. In our state the initially announced start date is the always handy TBD.
Guidelines for Volleyball and soccer have yet to be announced but like other fall sports they are tentatively scheduled to go forward.
What does this mean for other spring sports?
This will all have to be figured out as if our schools didn’t have enough on their plate right now. Athletic Directors throughout our bi-peninsular paradise who already deal with weather related scheduling nightmares and the usual drone of issues brought to their door now have the ripple effects of COVID on sports to contend with and are likely pondering early retirement or a career change.
In the meantime a footballess fall awaits.
Like her coaching colleagues, N3 Editor and cross country coach Alexis Mercer may end up with backfield players and linemen added to the mix with her veteran runners creating a thundering herd of harriers.
Of course, the linemen might have issues with tossing the occasional cross body block during competition, but there’s confidence that most can adjust to the subtle differences between the sports.
Thus far the NFL is moving forward so while no Newaygo Lions will take the field there’s always the beloved Detroit Lions to watch. Given the history of this storied franchise and how things generally go for the team this could very well be the year they win the Super Bowl.
Think of it. There will probably be a slew of COVID related ineligible players throughout the season and if they fell at the right time might give a lesser team the advantage. Games could be cancelled or forfeited, the year could be cut short, any number of scenarios could unfold in a weird way that would elevate the perennial also rans to the big game.
One that no one can attend.
As no one attended the games during the season.
And because of the oddity and many factors surrounding the season the Super Bowl winner, regardless of what the league says, will forever have a giant asterisk next to it in the record books.
Yep. I can see this being the year of the Lions.
A rough start to their 2nd century
A fire destroyed the century old Government Lake Lodge this week.
Lil and I have sporadically made visits to this inviting lakeside eatery located just a stones throw or two north of Baldwin. The iconic building and unique location provided a pleasant diversion during drives that took us up M-37 (the way, way best route north particularly if combined with slicing to the west on 115).
Places like Gov Lake have been landmarks for travelers to and through the north forever. As a kid when my family would head to our up north cottage (yes,we had cars then) I vividly recall places like this where we would stop off for a little respite. My Dad could usually use a beer after traveling a few hours with four kids in a hot car loaded down with enough stuff to last months longer than the week we would be gone. These spots always seemed to have great burgers and fries along with orange pop and often would be home to a bowling game or pinball machine. If so, Dad would pour out the dimes, presumably to enjoy a bit of quiet to go with his beer.
Fewer and fewer of these classic roadside oases are still operating and these days instead of pinball you’ll usually find Keno. Still, each one has character and each has a bit of personal history for those who may have been well acquainted with them.
While personally unaware of the history behind GLL at the ripe old age of 101 it is certain to be a rich one indeed and we would invite anyone with a story to share with our readers about this archetypal up north tavern to send it on over to us in the comment section or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
"There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern"- Samuel Johnson
Dear Editor and Fremont community,
The Fremont Area District Library Yes Committee sends its sincere thanks to Fremont area voters for their support of the library’s August 4 millage proposal. Your support is especially meaningful in these difficult times and demonstrates our community’s commitment to literacy, lifelong learning, and ensuring all residents have access to information and resources. We look forward to the many things your yes vote will help make happen, including updated technology, new books and programming, and increased hours of operation. We are proud of and extremely grateful for our community’s beautiful library and its outstanding staff. Thank you again for joining us to support them in such an important way!
Patti Wheater for the FADL Yes Committee
Photo by Penny Dow
Story by Ken DeLaat
A little over a year ago during a rush of bear sightings in our fair county we ran a story with a slew of photos and some DNR guidelines about our furry neighbors. At the time I mentioned that I had never encountered one of these black beauties but had always harbored a desire to do so.
But then this past Tuesday night Hess Lake resident Penny Dow happened to catch an intruder outside her window. Intrigued at what she witnessed she made a quick grab of her phone and snapped the photo that joins this article. It was her first sighting of the lumbering beast and after the departure she took a trip outside (a brave woman) in hopes of finding prints to see if he had come from near the house or garage. The search proved fruitless.
“It was just exciting to see one in my yard,” she said.
And where is the locale of this spotting?
Just down the street from N3 World Headquarters.
And right past where I take my daily walk.
This news gave me a bit of pause about my desire to catch a peek at a bear in the wild. My thought had been to gain an extended look in situations involving vital goalongs like shelter (car, house, helicopter, etc..) and/or distance.
A pretty fair distance since old friend Bruce Rose who spent years at the forest service once explained to me just how fast the big guys (and gals) can be.
Now, granted, my perambulate pursuit generally takes place soon after sunrise and the spotting by Ms. Dow occurred in the latter part of the evening so…
But as I said it gives me a bit of pause.
So I referenced the DNR info we put together for last year’s story (along with a snide comment or two) and decided to repeat the guidelines for my friends and neighbors in case our newest visitor has thoughts of some form of Manifest Destiny to expand personal territory.
Never intentionally feed bears.
And if you need this advice the rest of this guide will likely elude you.
Remove potential food sources, like bird feeders and bird suet, from your yard. Do not feed wild birds in the spring, summer and fall, when bears are most active.
This one hurts for folks who love to keep tabs on their feathered friends year round but seriously if one only feeds in winter most years in this peninsular paradise winter can be close to being nearly year round anyway.
Keep pet food inside or in a secured area.
As well as small pets who might be protective of said food one imagines.
Keep garbage and odor at a minimum by removing trash often and cleaning the can or other container used for garbage. Keep garbage in a secured area or in a secured container with a metal, lockable lid until it is picked up or taken away.
“One man’s trash..” as the saying goes. I imagine after grubbing about for some roots and berries the good fortune of hitting an unprotected pail of what humans toss away food-wise brings a reaction akin to cutting loose a ravenous group of teenage boys on an all -you-can-eat buffet line.
Keep grills and picnic tables clean.
Have you ever camped near folks who didn’t do this in bear country? I have. It doesn’t make for easy sleeping.
Bee hives (apiaries), fruit trees and gardens can be protected from bears by electric fencing.
My hunch is the average bear (not Yogi who is said to be smarter than the average bear) doesn’t have the table manners of Pooh when it comes to honey. Bears have been described many ways but dainty has never been one I’ve seen used thus in quest of honey the hive likely takes a bit of a beating.
Make noise to scare bears out of your yard or around your home: but do not approach bears.
I would definitely make noise...most likely a prepubescent scream while bolting in the direction of any port of safety.
Travel in groups and make noise when hiking to avoid surprising a bear.
Just how big is considered a group? I sometimes am joined in my walk by LSC Lil on the days she isn’t working out with weights but I assume she’s faster than me which plays into the old adage about needing just one person to be slower than you when running from a bear.
Carry bear spray.
The price of bear spray ranges widely but this is likely one of those products you don’t want to go cheap on, right? I mean you might be able to go on the less expensive end when it comes to certain things like paper plates but I can’t imagine feeling good about saving a few bucks when the effect of the spray turns out to be limited to pissing off the beast.
Of course it needs to be considered that maybe the bear was just on a bit of a day trip. Perhaps it had heard about our recent spate of food trucks and wished to scope out the site for a future visit. Or possibly he(she) developed a taste for the catfish that seem plentiful in the lake this year.
But whether our bear turns out to be a regular visitor or his appearance is merely one of those enigmatic occurrences, my walk is sure to take on a whole new undertone.
One rife with apprehension one imagines.
And speaking of bears...
The following quote is from a story called “God’s Own Drunk” written by Lord Taylor and performed by Jimmy Buffet on his album “Living & Dying in ¾ Time”.
It’s a good story, a good song and a worthwhile listen that we highly recommend.
Particularly in light of the appearance of our new friend.
“I was God's own drunk and a fearless man...
“And that's when I first saw the bear.”- Lord Taylor
To Our Readers...
Those of you who subscribe to our weekly newsletter (free, what a deal!) may have noticed that in the third article the storyline was a bit confusing. Although the photo and the link went to the This & That piece, the copy was from a story the previous week about the initial official ride on the New Michigan Dragon Trail.
As a way of explaining this news site faux pas, one might be helped by knowing a bit about the process for sending out the newsletter.
Our Editor, Alexis Mercer, does it.
Yep. That’s the process as I, the publisher, now know it to be.
Our Editor has put together the weekly missive for a long time. She has accomplished this at a wide variety of locales throughout the country, under various circumstances, while simultaneously juggling any number of other commitments and accomplished it well.
But when Editor Mercer texted from the UP this past weekend stating she was ensconced in an area of little reception and passed the proverbial newsletter baton to me for this week’s edition, I went confidently forward and…
Now, admittedly, I once performed this duty in the early stages of our existence, however it has been awhile and the muscle memory attached to the operational guidelines of newsletter creation has likely atrophied a bit.
Then, after painstakingly fumbling through the process (not that complicated but...), I managed to figure out how it was done and actually reach the point of scheduling a send.
One might think I cavalierly chose to not check it, but no, kind readers, I ‘proofed’ it... giving it a once over before hitting send.
Unfortunately the once over proved to be inadequate and a twice or thrice over may have been more conducive to discovering the error. Of course given the lack of success in the initial check this view might be overly optimistic but we’re sticking to it for now.
And now that we’ve done it (albeit a bit messed up) future attempts would likely see less mistakes.
But that’s Plan B.
Hopefully, Editor Mercer returning to civilization soon.
Posted here at the request of Ms. Goodin
Dear GVSU Board of Trustees,
My name is Brea Goodin and I am currently a Senior at Grand Valley State University. During these four years, I have proudly considered myself a Laker. As stated in the Laker Effect Campaign, “Lakers are driven by our passion for learning and using that knowledge for the common good. We make a difference by focusing on others and making lasting contributions.” I have chosen to make a lasting contribution by pursuing elementary education and mathematics; as teaching is to touch a life forever. As I am eager to continue my passion for learning, I am also deeply disappointed and hurt by your choice to raise our tuition by 3%.
Throughout my four years, I have spent $57,761.27 on tuition that has contributed to the success of both myself and GVSU. I have maintained a 3.74 GPA while volunteering in classrooms throughout Kent County, proudly representing GVSU. In addition, I just received the Michigan Council of Mathematics scholarship that will recognize GVSU in helping me become a successful educator. However, my pride for GVSU has been challenged, along with feeling betrayed because of this tuition increase.
GVSU, please help me understand why you would do this to me and the rest of your fellow Lakers. As former students, do you think that we have not gone through enough this year? Raising tuition during a worldwide pandemic and crisis is absolutely shocking and makes me feel that you are taking advantage of GVSU students. In your mission statement, you state that you desire to “help shape student’s lives,” yet when the whole world is struggling and suffering, you chose to give students more of a barrier to continue learning.
Since at least 1995, you have raised our tuition each year. If everyone’s tuition increased, can I assume that all Lakers will benefit? If not; GVSU you will be picking winners and losers. A system like that could award a not so conscientious student at the expense of a hard-working conscientious student. Please explain what is fair or intelligent about that?
You state that you have increased financial aid and that students with financial need will see a reduction of cost. What about us Lakers that do not qualify for financial need? I have never received any financial aid to reduce my college tuition costs. I have only received federal loans that I will have to pay back. GVSU, please help me understand where my money will go during this tuition increase?
As our nation continues to work on finding a way to come together and make choices that are in the best interest of all people, I hope you too, GVSU, will consider how to best help your students succeed. We are living in a worldwide crisis and I hope you support your Lakers in place of increasing our barrier to education and ultimately affecting our future.
With an open mind, I would like to understand the need for this tuition increase.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your time.
N3 polls our readers
What to do about school?
Since the initial closure in Mid-March the question has hovered over school systems throughout the country and more importantly here in our fair county.
When our local superintendents put out a news release in our pages recently that, in part, offered virtual learning to all students we wanted to ask our readers which option they might choose if school were to start in the next few days.
Note: This survey is exceedingly unscientific and conjectural at best and based solely on the opinions expressed by the readers who participated. There were attempts (for whatever reason) to ‘stack the numbers’ and while we intervened in some of these endeavors we may have missed some as well.
Out of the 100 responses received 53 opted for In School with 46 going for Virtual and one that indicated non virtual homeschooling.
But our interest goes beyond the numbers and more to the comments accompanying some of the votes. They hopefully give us an inside look at what issues parents are struggling with as this whole new world of education begins.
We broke down the comments into sections and while the replies spill over a bit we tried to categorize them according to primary concern. The option they selected is identified by an S for In School and V for Virtual.
S-My children need that student to teacher learning otherwise they just can't do it on their own. they don't understand some of the work/problems and as I am a grandmother/guardian of my children I also don't always understand the questions/problems that need to be finished. and --my children WANT to go back to school and be taught by a teacher.
S-I feel that in person school is NECESSARY for our children academically, socially & emotionally. I feel that it is a very important & vital decision to return to in person schooling for our children & their futures.
S-My kids (2nd and 10th grade) are both needing more human interaction with their friends as they have been pretty much quarantined since March.
S-Children need to be in school face to face with others. School is a “safe place” for many and I am concerned about these children. Teachers are the experts, kids need to be in school learning and growing!
S-My daughter has special needs and it takes her longer to do one subject at home or one assignment at home then in person...she needs the socializing of school also and to see her peers and her teachers. She misses school and loves going and she enjoys her classes even if it’s a struggle for her at times.
S-My daughter needs the social aspect of school as well as academics. She also performs better with books, paper, pencil, activities versus a screen. School age children are not high risk and as long as staff and students don’t come to school sick, I believe there is a low risk of contracting Covid 19. The slight risks outweigh the positives of attending school.
S-Our children need that peer to peer interaction with their friends. They also need that classroom setting to learn. We tried distance learning from March thru June and that was a struggle in itself.
S-My child is in special education. He’d benefit more being in person.
S-Our student will be a junior in high school. Children are social beings. They learn to be good citizens by interacting with other children....they learn social skills. When the school was shut down, our son said numerous times that he required face to face instruction and the interaction with the teacher. He has a sport for which he trains year round. We are hoping to have that sport....it has also taught him much about perseverance, work ethic, teamwork, leadership, etc. I cannot allow my fear to overwhelm our child and create fear in him.
S-With the assumption that my elementary children will NOT be wearing masks.
S-Without masks! My teenagers would struggle greatly if they were to try to learn anything online, they are basically having to just read and teach themselves. Some would do okay but most would struggle greatly. All would benefit from being in their traditional school setting, by which I mean the same setting and set up as it has been in the past. Kids also need to be with their peers, to mature and grow socially. This needs to be done without masks, if there are families uncomfortable with sending their children to attend school offer an online option but don’t punish the ones who would like to return to normal.
V-Mask and social distancing restrictions will hinder providing students with a healthy and enriching learning environment.
V-Disagree with the strict rules on the school and classrooms and don’t want to require my kids to wear masks and such.
S-I don’t feel that the kids should be forced to wear a mask all day while they are at school. We can barely breathe in them and it is harmful to breathe in your own toxins. Also, I feel if they have to eat their lunches in the classrooms and not socialize with their friends, what’s the sense?
V-Too many unknowns, why would I risk my child getting sick and bringing it home?
V-With no social distancing, classrooms are not safe for kids or staff.
V-I don't feel the school districts are equipped to keep children from becoming infected with Covid-19.
V-Everything is so unknown. It just seems like the best choice for now.
V-The career tech center couldn't hold classes with 7 girls in it without one of them exposing it to the girls and putting us in quarantine.
S-I’m not very comfortable with it but I am willing to go with this choice for now. Could change based on numbers locally over the next month. I am hoping kids take this seriously and don’t put each other at risk. Regardless of the views of their parents, kids should know that continuing in person learning depends, to a great extent, on their behavior.
S-Due to the scientific data of many countries who have used common sense models in their schools with virtually no uptick in cases from or to students in school, I feel comfortable- using common sense- sending children back to school.
S-I am a full time working parent as well as my husband. I feel he will not get the education he needs if left to do it here by himself unless daily communication is a must in which teachers are able to communicate after hours when working parents get home.
S-It’s my grandchildren, but they desperately want to get back to school and I think they learn better there plus it’s better for them socially. And working parents just don’t have the ability to help kids learn everything they need to with online classes.
S-My husband and I both work full time. We are not able to homeschool.
V-I would need to know if a child needs to be logged on at certain times or just complete the education. This makes a big difference to our family as we have jobs
I have long believed the day when virtual learning would be the norm was coming, based on discussions with my grandchildren. I think the pandemic has merely accelerated a process that was already started, and when the cost effectiveness becomes apparent, and availability becomes more widespread, technical issues resolved, and the idea communities could take over extracurriculars like band, sports etc that day is nearly upon us now.
As of today, our plan is virtual learning for our elementary children. I really, really want them to return to school, but I want them to be able to be kids in the classroom, and have the opportunity to connect with their teachers and classmates. Thank you to all of the teachers that have gone far above and beyond during this experience!!
I would be okay with limited in person and the rest virtual but if the options are totally in person and totally virtual I would go virtual.
Eventually the school will have to be shut down anyway so let’s just do the first semester online.
I want some kind of consistency for my kids and I feel I can manage that better at home than in school with too many difficult to follow guidelines.
It definitely depends on what both options entail. It’s hard to say without knowing the specific details of both options, but at this point we are leaning towards virtual.
OTHER IN SCHOOL
My child does better with in person instruction… I’m working full-time from home right now and wouldn’t no way be able to help her focus on school. It would be a disservice to her to have virtual learning. She will only be in kindergarten as well as in the Spanish immersion program. I think that is an essential year for her to be provided within person instruction. My three-year-old was going to do the outdoor nature center preschool. Both kids attend day care right now and neither are required to wear masks. There have been no concerns or issues at the daycare at this point. I’m confused as to how it could be that different from the school if appropriate precautions and handwashing are taken.
We have eagerly been waiting to see what this year will look like for our 1st and 5th grader. We are hoping that recess will still be an option as well as PE and arts/music.
I have four children who are very far spread apart. It is very difficult to attempt to teach a senior, 7th grader, 3rd grader.
Other feedback can be found in the comments section of the survey article
One of those seemed to capture much of the mood surrounding the upcoming year.
"It’s a gut wrenching decision. I want my daughter to have the MUCH needed interactions, however, I also want her safe (I know the districts are going above, and beyond to ensure safety), it’s all of the unknowns at this time."
SURVEY: In School, Virtual Learning
August 31 is the schedued start.
As of this writing we’re around 5 weeks from the first day of school.
In any normal year parents might be making the trek to the malls to purchase school clothes (a process with a wide range on the difficulty scale depending on the enthusiasm of the students being shopped for and their willingness to try things on).
They might be scoring some of the school supplies that line the aisles of grocery stores.
Backpacks and bookbags would be examined for issues in the hopes of getting another year out of them.
But this is no normal year.
To say the least.
Recently the leadership of our local schools put out a press release announcing that virtual learning would be available to any who may not yet be comfortable with their students attending in person.
They will be surveying parents on the issue in the near future.
In the meantime we’re curious how our readers might feel about the return to school as the pandemic continues to have a profound effect on our lives and the lives of our children.
Given, this is an evolving situation that will change according to what might occur over the next 5 weeks but...
On the survey link below, indicate if school was to start in the next few days would you:
And more importantly, please share the reasons behind your decision and we will post them as they arrive.
While welcoming the input, we hope to avoid devolving into a political discussion regarding the relative veracity of our current situation and we will also be less than welcoming when it comes to posting personal pandemic theories. There are well known venues for both of these.
What we hope to foster is a productive dialogue about this sea change in the way we conduct our lives.
Please join us.
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.