The End of the School Year

Another school year has drawn to a close. Unlike 2020 and 2021, my kids spent the entire year in the classroom. Which felt like a major accomplishment… until my 10-year-old tested positive for Covid with only two remaining school days left. He was quite bummed.

To be honest, I was also bummed. It’s not like avoiding Covid is within our control at this point. The mask mandate was dropped in schools a few months ago and the variants are more contagious than ever. But reaching the end of the school year without having Covid enter our house felt like a Goal. A goal that we missed.

Still, we managed to avoid the virus for more than two years. We were able to get vaccinated. Quentin’s case of Covid was mild — he threw up and then felt lousy for about 36 hours. After that, the trickiest part was keeping him isolated for five days (and keeping Autumn home since she’s not fully vaccinated).

Over the last week, I reflected on the school year. Autumn was exposed to Covid back in November and it forced her to stay home for 10 days. Quentin was exposed twice this spring but at that point the guidance had changed and he could keep going to school as long as he didn’t have symptoms.

Other than those brushes against Covid and mask-wearing, the school year felt normal. All of my kids had great years with their teachers, projects, and activities.

Quentin is in the Gifted and Talented program, which begins in 3rd grade — so his experience started as a fully remote one. The teacher asked to speak with me a few weeks into the 2020-2021 school year. She told me that Quentin was doing terribly: he wasn’t turning in work and he wasn’t participating in class. She told me that maybe the program wasn’t a good fit for him.

I asked Quentin about it and he told me that he hated the class. He cried. I cried.

Yet I didn’t feel like the teacher’s assessment was fair and I didn’t want to pull him out of the program based on how he performed in a fully remote setting. We kept charging ahead.

A few months ago, the school hosted an in-person parents’ night. I got to visit his Gifted and Talented classroom and speak briefly with his teacher. She said, “Quentin is such a light, such a joy to have in the classroom.”

It was a reminder that the pandemic experience was not reflective of who we are.

That teacher retired this year. Because Quentin was quarantined, he missed saying goodbye to her and her retirement party. I could tell that he was upset.

I emailed the teacher and asked if she would be willing to FaceTime with Quentin. She immediately agreed.

I didn’t listen in on their conversation, but Quentin had a big smile on his face when she called.

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