Originally published August 5, 2020.
Dear Parent or Guardian,
We hope that you’re staying well this summer! Please complete this survey within the next 30 minutes, as we plan to include as many diverse opinions as possible before formulating our reopening strategy, which was due for submission last week.
How would you describe this spring’s
remote learning experience for your family?
1. Streamlined and efficient — a welcome break!
2. Reminiscent of scenes from Home Alone
3. Reminiscent of scenes from Contagion
4. A hotbed of despair and criminal activity
This fall, you favor:
1. In-person learning, and constant fear
2. Hybrid learning, mixing constant fear with a dollop of logistical chaos
3. Remote learning, marrying logistical chaos with the cold cloak of devastating isolation
4. Moving to Maine and launching your own homeschool
We would like to take a moment to showcase our models, developed in conjunction with Mad Libs and the estate of George Orwell:
If you’ve ever wondered how to combine pure hopelessness with the ambiance of Alcatraz in its prime, this option might be for you. Rest assured that your child’s teacher will suffer from crippling anxiety while seamlessly policing non-masked students, overseeing a rigorous schedule of hand-washing, and ensuring that children remain confined to a six-foot square of personal space at all times. Despite this, we aim to create a robust learning environment where your child will also absorb the finer elements of sitting in place. Note that your child’s temperature will be taken every hour, and students will vacate the building approximately every 20 minutes for a thorough deep-cleaning with new, fast-tracked chemicals. Students must be tested for COVID at the first sign of illness; please return your child to us in six weeks or when results come back, whichever comes first.
This model will combine the key elements of in-person instruction (see above) with remote learning, which we hopefully perfected this spring. Your child will be divided into a cohort (A, B, AB, BC, CC, XVY, MCXLVII, and Depeche Mode) based on careful consideration of his or her learning style, social-emotional needs, friendships, and an algorithm our intern designed this summer. You will need a reliable Internet connection, a work schedule that follows no concrete pattern, a forgiving supervisor, independent wealth, or a Xanax prescription. Please contact our school nurse for the latter.
We recognize that many families are naturally uncomfortable sending their child back to school given the virus’s uncertainty. As such, we have also designed a remote learning option in conjunction with an outside vendor who specializes in emailing non-working links to YouTube videos, as we realize that Google Classroom posed technological challenges. Your child should expect to sit in front of a screen for roughly eight hours per day, with allowances for quick movement breaks, meals, and the occasional primal scream.
Rest assured that no matter how you respond, it won’t matter whatsoever. We’ll come up with a plan in consultation with an anonymous team of stakeholders, three renowned local astrologists, a haphazard compendium of tweets, and a seance that will be held over Zoom (please find the login and password on page 576 of the town bylaws). We will also hold a listening session in ten minutes, if anyone’s around. Expect a link to be emailed shortly; please check your spam.
We welcome your feedback! Stay well!
— Your School District
Read an interview with Kara Baskin about writing this piece over on our Patreon page.