Well, I say this every time I type a post….but I have sucked at posting in 2020. It has been hard to keep up, be motivated to do so, etc etc. Especially since this blog was originally started with the purpose of talking about my races, training, trips, and so one…there was really not much to report on this year. I did not have one single in-person “official” race. Moonlight Run 10km turned virtual back in March as it was the week after all the chaos really began. Right or wrong, or something in between, I chose not to register for any other virtual races during this year (except the RunDisney standard 5km virtual summer series…and that was so I could get the medals…which were sent to my mon’s house since they didn’t do Canada shipping…and I haven’t seen my mom in a year, so I will get them someday).
I don’t want this 2020 year-end post to be a sob story, woe-is-me. Because my husband Dan and I have discussed, that while it’s been a tough year, it’s been tougher for a whole lot of other people out there. We recognize how fortunate we are that we both have had stable jobs and income during this. When childcare shut down from March until Summer, while we don’t have family in town, we have close friends that we basically co-parented with. We rotated who watched the kids so the adults could work.
Races and trips were cancelled, but our friends’ made the most of it. There’s a core group of us that have had a group chat on WhatsApp going since March. A lot of the daily talk is just nonsense and things that just make us all laugh. But at the start of the first quarantine, we did weekly trivia on Zoom, we would join eachother for wine tastings, we met on each other’s lawns for socially distanced drinks. In summer, when things were a little more relaxed we did socially distanced beer miles again and some outdoor gatherings. I mentioned some posts ago about our June “100 Point Day” race we held in place of the cancelled Lone Wolf. It has already been determined it is becoming an annual event, even when races get back to normal.
Dan and I were able to go to the cabin at Gull Lake twice and see family and friends, with the last time being in August. Dan actually went up with a bunch of his friends on Labour Day weekend and had a pseudo “guys trip.” This whole fall we’ve been pretty bunkered at home, and I have been feeling the constant anxiety and stress being in the school system. In the Spring, educators were praised often for switching over to virtual learning and many maybe fianlly realized how improtant it is to have your children in-school and that what we offer at a school is more than an education. This fall, many on the outside have seemed to have judgement and concern if we are seemingly doing enough. Whatever we do, it doesn’t seem to win everyone over so really you just have to do the best you can every day for your students and not take things too personal.
I have not had to quarantine at all during the school year, and any in-school student COVID cases were not a result of in-school transmission. Students and staff at our school wear masks 24/7 as social distancing is not possible due to large class sizes. I truly believe this mask wearing, increased cleaning and awareness have help contribute to the school setting being SAFE! There was at most 5 active COVID cases at our school, and this was in the window of time in the end of October and beginning of November….right near the US election, so I was already a mess. Tons of students and staff were required to quarantine and do at-home teaching and learning for whatever time frame was given by Alberta Health Services. While some stduents and colleagues of mine had to quarantine just that one time, there were a handful that then fell into a second quarantine group later in the fall because of a different case or two in their class.
Case in Alberta, as in everywhere, have been on the rise all Fall and into winter. I know people are getting fatigued with this, and many people are getting just downright rude about following the rules. I’m sorry that this inconveniences your daily “freedoms” of being able to participate in activities of privilege that you are so used to, but if you cared about everyone you would actually take this seriously. Alberta went into a second sort of “lockdown” at the end of November, where on November 30th all grades 7-12 would be doing virtual learning until January 11th. Grades K-6 would still go in-person (mainly due to childcare situations) but ALL students in Alberta would do at-home learning the first week in January, 4-8th. I am not going to go into an analysis of this, but more so wanted to put it out there that since November 30th, I switched my in-person instruction to all online. I am allowed to go to the school every day (we are required to unless we get quarantined) and I teach in my classroom to my students who are at home.
Kids WANT to be at school. While I teach mainly academic classes this semester, even the “weaker” students who may not “love” school want to be here. Many people outside the education field don’t realize that being at home poses lots of potential issues. Do students have technology? Do they have reliable wifi? How many siblings do they have? Do their parents have to work from home too? Maybe their parents work shift work and having the children home during the day can wreck havoc on a normal routine. Do they come from a troubled home? Is there a chance of abuse if they are home all day? What if the school is the safest place for them to be from 8 am-3 pm? Now what?
It is now nearing the end of my Christmas break. We were supposed to be in Milwaukee visiting my family, but that obviously had to be cancelled. While travelling within the US is still allowed, though not encouraged, many people have started to seem to bend the rules for themselves. It’s a slippery slope. And now in the past two months I have had people close to me (back in the states) contract COVID. While they are recovering “fine” it had been a tough road for them. I can’t tell people what to do, but here is my woe-is-me post: I haven’t seen my family in Wisconsin for over a year now because the land borders are still closed to non-essential travel. If I were to travel anywhere in the US I would have a mandatory 14-day quarantine back here, not be allowed to work, and loss of pay. And why risk using the loophole of having my mom come here to visit (she could actually since she is my mother) when she would be someone potentially at risk herself with her age?
I hope my mom has access to the vaccine by Spring and that by summer, she can safely come visit. There’s been some bright spots in the last month or so (though it’s seemed more than a month) with the elections, the vaccine announcements…it gives 2021 hope. Our Christmas was quieter than normal, but Dan, Andy and had each other. We Facetimed Grandma, Nana & Gramps, brother and sister in laws, friends who live far away, etc…We made it work. And having a quiet Christmas with a 3 year old isn’t possible even if you think it’s going to be quiet. He had the MOST AMAZING TIME this Christmas season. Opening his advent calendar each day for the Thomas the Train car, gluing a cotton ball to a Santa Beard chart…..he can count up to 25 easily now, because he knows that SANTA COMES ON 25! To see a kid open a set of markers on Christmas, or underwear, or socks, and be so excited to get a gift is a special thing.
This year was tough. But it is not the end of the world. Going forward, I hope that people can recognize how lucky they are and take advantage of the little things. There were lots of little things that happened this year because of the Pandemic that I know I learned from and will take moving forward.
So what’s next? See you in 2021 to find out.