Here is what has particularly chewed me up during this latest round of school closures in Ontario, the province that has deprived its children of education and normalcy more than any other in Canada, and more than virtually any other jurisdiction in the world: it feels like we are all actors in a commercial that says things are basically fine when they are manifestly not.
We are all muddling through a situation that was forced on us, because this is what we need to do for our kids, our jobs and whatever remains of ourselves. But the longer we keep finding a way to soldier through this, the more it feels like we are aiding and abetting the colossal lie that this is okay, that this was a reasonable and necessary choice, that there is not massive damage being sustained by these decisions every day, with the full, horrifying toll unknowable for years.
I gave serious thought to deliberately and completely opting out of “virtual learning” this time around, for reasons both practical and symbolic. On a practical level, my kids hate it—or rather, my incandescently bright Grade 2 student, who has not had a normal school year since she was in junior kindergarten, hates it to the point of tears. Her brother, now in junior kindergarten himself, in what I desperately hoped would be a somewhat normal school year, has yet to learn the hell of online learning.