Dear Parents,

Hope you had a wonderful, relaxing break with family and friends. We’re delighted to welcome you back to school as we celebrate a return to normalcy. We want to assure you that schools are open, safe, and operating completely as usual. However, we did want to alert you to some policy changes to ensure a robust learning environment for all!

Your child’s classroom will have no teachers. Understandably, many of our educators have been reluctant to return to school, with COVID cases and hospitalizations reaching an all-time high and emergency rooms on the brink of collapse.

We want to reassure you that our approach is pedagogically sound and has been studied in-depth by our wonderful homebound college interns over the past four days. We are eager to offer them a timely learning opportunity while also supporting the higher-ed community.

Depending on age and local funding, your child’s classroom will be staffed by:

  • A small robot with lifelike emotions on loan from NASA
  • YouTube and TikTok (please refer to our “Healthy Social Media Policy” on page 391 of the school handbook for an FAQ)
  • Reruns of Disney’s Bunk’d
  • A local middle-school student who is on the tail-end of quarantining

This strategy will allow us to keep schools operational and enriching. Feel free to contact us with any specific questions.

Your child should report to school no matter what. Remember that kids really should be in school because, at this point, everyone will get COVID anyway. Moreover, due to the unavailability of home tests and the fact that the nearest PCR drive-thru test is in Norway (email us for more info), this is the most expedient route. Please follow these easy steps every morning:

    1. Fill out a daily health attestation by 5 a.m. We understand that you will lie.

    2. Please screen your child for COVID using an antigen test by 7 a.m. We recognize that at-home tests no longer exist except for five seconds on Walmart’s website before vanishing. With this in mind, our school nurse has approved the use of a Q-tip with six droplets of vodka splashed onto an egg carton instead.

    3. Once at school, regardless of testing status, if your child must cough, they are no longer allowed to do so into their elbow. Instead, they must just kind of swallow it into their throat until it goes away.

Be flexible. We recognize the burden that COVID has placed on our families. We wanted to take a moment to outline in detail our school cancellation policies clearly. Your child will be sent home only if:

    1. They have tested positive for COVID in the past thirty days, but only on a PCR test, which is impossible to find or afford, so please don’t worry about this possibility. You have enough on your mind as it is.

    2. Their cohort has more than one but fewer than four positive cases, in which case they can return the day after tomorrow, after 1 p.m., but only with proof of two antigen tests or one PCR test, as well as a fever of under 103, proof of which you can submit via App to a defunct Dropbox link that we will have up and running as soon as our assistant IT manager returns from the ICU. (Donate to his GoFundMe here.)

    3. There are no robots.

And remember: Per CDC guidelines, you can send your child back to school even with symptoms and without the presence of a negative test, provided they spent three days playing Minecraft in isolation.

Wear a mask! We are fortunate to have a passionate coalition of mask-foragers in town who function as their own de facto government agency. They have taken up a collection of vetted masks and will distribute them to families in need over the coming days. There are currently ten masks to hand out to over two-thousand families. Click here to put yourself on the waiting list, or use Venmo to support the cause.

If you cannot locate a mask, please note that we will also accept handwoven face coverings. (Check out upcoming virtual Community Ed class “How to Design Your Own N95” for more on this technique, taught by a local retired art teacher.)

A few other odds and ends: Children will no longer eat lunch at school. Please feed them a hearty breakfast. We plan to conduct all classes outdoors unless temperatures drop below twenty degrees. Our staff psychologist has skimmed early studies concluding that frigid temperatures stimulate the firing of neurons and have been shown to accelerate brain growth. Please contact us to learn more about this new innovation, which we hope to continue even after the pandemic ends.

We do recognize that the pavement is cold, so please send your child with their own heated quilt, available on Amazon for $254.99. The PTO has partnered with Amazon to offer quilts with our school logo; a portion of proceeds will go toward distributing at-home antigen tests in April 2023.

Thanks for your partnership and patience during these reassuring times when everything has returned to normal. We’re eager to see your children in class soon!

— Your School District

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Read an interview with Kara Baskin about writing this piece here.