Monday, March 21, 2022

Not Dead Yet!

This pandemic feels like living in a horror movie that just keeps going on and on. We think the killer is dead, but then they come back for yet another attack. Is this one finally the end? Is this one?? When is it over?? Checking our watch is a bad sign for any movie: it should have ended ages ago. But every horror film has a cast that does the stupidest things that make us yell instructions at the screen. Don't split up! Don't go in there alone!! Take off your high heels to run, you idiot! If only they'd have listened to us, they would all still be alive.  

And here we are: Yelling at our screens (and on our phones and at meetings) to keep protections in place for at least a few more weeks after March break, but the cast running the show isn't listening. We have been abandoned to our own risk-analysis, and, in our schools, the choice that will make or break us is left in the hands of children

Politicians appear to be placating people who want to come to schools and stores without a mask to get things to feel normal again, but they're completely ignoring the real fears of the people who are now wary of entering these buildings because they don't want to get a brain-invasive virus. Make it make sense!!

It doesn't make sense as a way to get more votes for Ford if we consider that anti-maskers seem to be a minority, but it might make sense in order for Ford to get a windfall of election cash from donors who care about profits over people and think masks, as harbingers of doom, keep us from shopping. And the best funded campaign is often the winner. If that's the case, then our children appear to be collateral damage in their scheme to maximize profits for morally vacuous corporations. Trust the rich on this one: private schools are allowed to keep mask mandates!

I've tried to explain to my classes, again and again, that we have to think about the virus like smoking. But it's hard for some to really grasp. With smoking, there's a bad smell immediately that we instinctively act to avoid, waving it away with a hand as discretely as possible to avoid offending the smoker, and we know it's possible that, 20 years from now, we could get cancer from this second hand smoke. With Covid, there's nothing that happens immediately that primes our instincts to avoid people who are unmasked, but we could end up intubated in the hospital in just a few weeks from now. Our instincts aren't good for this, so we have to use the reasoning part of our brain, which seems a bit rusty in many people and growing weary in others. 

After the first March break, when we went into lockdown, I was up for the challenge of creating fantastic online lessons for my kids. Seeing clear signs from other countries that we wouldn't just be off for an extended holiday, my week was spent making videos of me teaching lessons to last to the end of the year. After the second March break, in April, I was teaching online so I didn't have to worry about sudden lockdowns. I was exhausted from quadmesters, but still going strong, albeit hanging on by my fingernails to do all the things to prep 4Us for uni (and my doctor thinks my current burnout is a direct result of that year). Today, the first day after the break, case positivity in the region is higher than after the other breaks, but there's no lockdown and no masks requirements and no cohorts or distancing. We got the email yesterday that kids can eat lunch anywhere in the school. Our cafeteria overflows, so kids eat in the hallways, right outside my classroom, which is a shitshow that leaves a disaster of garbage and spilled drinks in its wake. Of course my school won't encourage kids to continue eating outside; they're too stuck in the rhetoric of accepting all choices as equally valid. I might try to persuade them, but I'm not up for this challenge at all anymore. 

I'm getting the sense from social media posts that I might have been lucky to have been wary of this virus from the get go. I was off sick for a month last year, before shifting to distance learning online, because I became physically unable to walk into the building. My therapist told me, 

"It's not anxiety. Anxiety is when you feel like there's a danger, but there's not. You're experiencing fear of something very real that others are just managing with hardcore denial." 

Now the danger appears to be worse than ever, walking into a school with high regional case numbers and no mask mandates, but the adrenaline that liquified my bones last year seems to have been completely drained, and I'm apathetic, having succumbed to ennui. Where some teachers online say they're not able to keep going, I'll be the walking dead running through lessons with just an illusion of enthusiasm. I'm lucky in the sense that I've come full circle on it all, going back in to witness the horror show, knowing full well that the killer is in the house, while others are just starting to run screaming. At least we have a PD day like a mid-week intermission so we can answer vital action-based questions about our plans for destreaming next year, like fiddling while Rome burns. 

I'm on CFRU 93.3 FM community radio at 9:00 this morning (or here eventually), ranting with others about this mess. At least I still have enough will to yell at my screen, for the stupid knows no bounds!


The Disaffected Lib said...

The big gamble is that Covid-19 has become endemic, similar to influenza.

When this began two years ago I went to the CDC to find that most pandemics came in three waves, the second usually the most deadly. Covid, perhaps because it mutates more freely, has more waves. One expert warned that the re-opening will trigger yet another wave, increasing the odds of another variant emerging.

Remember when Mr. Trudeau acted as though it would be over when summer 2020 arrived? I doubt he believed that. In the meantime we're getting prepped for the next booster, MRNA #4.

Marie Snyder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie Snyder said...

I'm due for #4, but I don't qualify yet. I'm in the next group of "over 50," but it could be a while before they decide to call that number. My students were all pretty good about wearing masks, almost all my 4U students. But there were lots of bare faces in the hallways, and I know other classes had few masks in the room. Safe access to education shouldn't be won by chance!!