LETTER: School returns

Ret. Col. Pat Proctor

To the editor:

Students across the city of Leavenworth began their first day of school on Monday. I want to take just a moment to acknowledge the incredibly tough decisions we have asked parents in Leavenworth to make. And I want to commend teachers, administrators and school board members of USD 453 for finding a solution to get our kids back in school.

I recognize that this is a gut-wrenching decision for parents. I can only imagine the doubt and uncertainty moms and dads felt Monday morning as their kids left home for school. Will my son or daughter get sick? Will my son or daughter bring home an illness that will make family members sick? And, on the other hand, if my son or daughter doesn’t go to school, will he or she fall behind? If my high school senior can’t participate in school sports, will he or she miss out on scholarships that could be the pathway to a better future? There is no right answer and I have the deepest respect for our parents, no matter what decision they made about what is best for their child.

And I likewise know that our teachers are eager to get back in the classroom but understandably are concerned for their own safety and, of course, the safety of the kids in their charge. On top of all of the normal challenges of keeping kids orderly, engaged and learning, our teachers now have to contend with keeping kids masked and socially distanced for their own safety and the safety of their families at home. And teachers have to do all of this while setting aside reasonable fears for their own safety.

These are incredibly difficult times and we have no script or playbook from which we can draw for answers. But I am so impressed with the parents asked to wrestle with these incredibly difficult questions and the professionals in our schools asked to forge a solution. To everyone involved in getting us to this day, thank you for your hard work, perseverance and dedication on behalf of our kids.