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I feel such a sense of relief that my kids are grown adults and my grandson is not old enough for school. The first day of school was always a big thing in our house. The kids would always go back and forth on what new outfit to wear and whether their haircut was just perfect. We’d make sure they had everything in their backpack that their teacher asked that they bring to school. I’m not sure how much the kids actually slept the night before the first day of school, but I do know they were eager to get their baths and everything ready as a new school year was about to begin and they got to see their friends.

 We all know that this year is completely different.

 From being in contact with our four local superintendents throughout the summer, I know they have been working hard to provide the education that our tri-county families expect. Our four local superintendents have been providing weekly columns to keep their families up to date on the state of education in their district.

 Keeping up with best practice guidelines for disinfecting our work and learning areas is a daunting task alone.

 I also know many teachers, many of whom are close friends and family members. Some have been putting their elementary classrooms together over the past week, mostly in hot summer temperatures and no air conditioning. Others have worked occasionally over the summer with their year ‘round calendar and others have been learning how to teach their students using online opportunities.

 The stress of the teachers, administrators, school board members, and support staff, including the custodial departments must be off the charts right now. Everyone is watching. Add to that the stress of laid-off parents, working parents and grandparents who might have to care for the kids as the new school year begins is enough to make cause anxiety in anyone. All of us adults have to show a strong and positive face to our children.

 While our four main districts are temporarily teaching with a 100-percent online presence, some schools are offering full-time in-classroom instruction or a blended schedule of some days in class and others days online.

 The COVID-19 pandemic has forced such extreme precautions to ensure the contagious virus does not spread. As I read what our schools have been doing over this past summer, I am confident that teaching our youngest members of our community will happen, although I am sure there will be some bumps in the road.

 The teachers throughout our childhood have made an impact on our lives and I believe these teachers have chosen this profession because they truly care about the education of our kids.

 So, as we begin this school year, I hope and pray that everyone stays healthy, medication is readily available if someone does get infected with the coronavirus and that internet connections remain intact while students and their teachers are communicating remotely.

 To all of our educators and families with young children, good luck as the new school year begins.

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