Who remembers where they were sitting when COVID-19 restrictions/cancellations first came around? My wife and I were with some friends and, as a sportswriter, anxiety of a KSHSAA state basketball announcement filled my mind.

Were they going to cancel completely? Move the tournament to an alternate site? Postpone? All options felt possible, but even then, the news of the cancellation felt like a kick to the gut for these athletes and coaches. The same was true when the state activities association later cancelled the spring sports season.

Schools began postponing or even cancelling proms, graduations and other spring banquets, leaving teachers and students and their families left scrambling to make sense out of what happened.

We’re now eight months removed from when this began and I still don’t know how these students handled it. I think back to my 14- to 18-year-old self and I don’t know how I would have processed this type of situation. Add in teachers and administrators and the psyche of this entire group was in an insurmountable knot.

Move back that range in ages and I’ve found myself thinking about these students a lot recently.

From kindergarten to high school, which is an era where we’re asking students to make some of their biggest strides emotionally, mentally and physically, have we done everything we can to support them?

I’m the parent of a 2-year-old and a newborn, so I’m not in this world yet. However, with several extended family members ranging from elementary school to college, I still have ties to what this world is like.

Let’s consider education specifically. As Derby moves into a period of remote learning for students from sixth grade through high school, most of them stood in this spot in the spring. Think about this, though. As a group of students that is typically occupied from roughly 8:00 a.m. to as late as 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. through 10 months out of the year, who could blame them for not feeling connected with remote education?

It’s the prevailing theme I’ve heard from the students I’ve talked to and, of course, the teachers too. While I understand the need for remote learning at this time, I just can’t emphasize enough the need to support our education system. I’ve heard a comparison of this year to that of a washing machine cycle and who could blame them?

I’m not going to pretend like I have the answers to remedy all of these situations. If you have a student, teacher, principal or any school employee in your life, take a moment to reach out and let them know you’re thinking about them. Perhaps offer a hand of support. You might just be the support that keeps them going.


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