SCHOOL DAYS, SCHOOL DAYS

It appears to this writer that the first day(s) of the standard school season is getting off to its start a lot sooner than what I recall, and I suppose there is a reason to this.

First and foremost, this school year, (2021-22) is a season where students from the lower grades and up will be attending school in person and for real. Granted, there will be some teleconferencing involved that was leftover from the previous two seasons, but there will be in-person attendance in some form by those enrolled through their schooling.

The schooling that this writer will be addressing caters to those from the first grade (age 7-give or take) through post high school. Most of the same schooling from elementary through high school is usually done on a local and regional platform. That is, most of its students reside within a ten mile radius from where the school grounds exist. For college, it could be a school located across town as with a community college, or could be located in another part of the state or nation, as many of those attending on an undergrad basis will be utilizing.

To keep things rather simple, this article will focus on these types of sessions since attending school is part of a domestic citizen’s “life of passage”, where many of the more amusing episodes tend to take place. Also, this writer is a subscriber to many news blasts sent via email that speaks for a lot of domestic family life issues for those that have kids or are caretakers to such kids under the age of twenty five when it comes to handling school related issues.

I cannot speak from experience of how it’s like to handle a young(er) student in these times as I was never in a parental situation outside of telling (or retelling) my personal reflection of what it was like to be that person getting back into school. All I had was how things were as a kid living within a middle class (and mostly white) suburban community during an era now long removed. Yes, things have changed, and students tend to be more aware of what is going on around them in terms of environment, social justice, choice of lifestyle, and other notions that either I didn’t understand or even cared much about.

Anyway, back to the back to school saga. Since June, when many students were taking part in virtual graduation celebrations as well as getting a lawn sign that states something to the effect of “Graduate of (name of school) Class of 2021”, there was the talk of how the new school season was going to take place. In my community of the western San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles proper, the school season was going to begin the third week of August. Classroom attendance was going to occur with limited seating while being placed inside of a physical classroom at safe distances from one another. On June 12th, the mayor of Los Angeles announced that the mandates of social distancing were going to be lifted, meaning that donning face masks inside or outdoors were no longer required.

A few weeks later, the Delta strain of the virus was playing havoc to the region, meaning that mandate that was supposed to end was quickly pulled back. As of this writing, Los Angeles county is still under its purple zone, meaning that face masks are still necessary to wear indoors, vaccinated or not! This would apply to attending indoor schooling as well.

Again, this writer doesn’t have much details on these restrictions (those can be found through quick online searches), but the whole idea here is how these students are taking their back to school sessions through these circumstances.

I can understand the drama and trauma that going back to school has on a kid, teen, and even a so-called “young adult”. But I did recall the catching of a deadly virus, but it was through a fictional account!

When I was a kid, I recall seeing the feature film The Andromeda Strain that was about a group of these scientists that battle to find out how a small town was totally wiped out by a deadly virus that came from outer space. Although it was science fiction and all, it brought a chill to me wondering if something like what I experienced in this movie was ever going to happen for real! You may say that I indeed got my admission’s worth in seeking this feature. (For the record, I think I paid 75 cents since it was at a neighborhood “scratch” theater–but I digress!)

It gave me the notion to also think what if my school was ever hit by this mysterious virus. Would everyone attending be killed off by this virus–including me? What if I survived? What would I do? Would I be celebrated as a hero or would I just wind up attending another school only to start over?

Obviously, this virus episode never took place. But when it comes to attending school through teleconferencing, I do recall seeing some documentary on TV about how video conferencing could be a thing in the future. I recall seeing this demonstration backed by The Bell System where one can attend school classes through a video screen. In the demonstration as part of this documentary, a camera that was the size of a bank camera of the day was hooked up through a series of TV monitors where one can watch what was going on from a classroom setting.

The narration stated that within the next ten or so years (meaning sometime in the 1980’s), it would by commonplace to enroll into a form of schooling without venturing into a physical classroom (and a school house for all that mattered) so kids could get their lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

I thought that this idea of going to school via TV was great. This way, I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn (6:45 AM at least), struggle to get dressed in “school clothing”, wolf down breakfast (a pair of Hostess cupcakes and a glass of milk) while my mom, acting as traffic director, was getting the time, temp, and traffic reports from the all news radio station WBBM to make sure that we kids (myself and my elder siblings) were off to school to arrive on time! Through this electronic magic, I can just snap on the TV set, and lo and behold, I was at school! I would be seeing my teachers giving me the lessons I needed to know while seated within the comfort and privacy of my own home! And during “recess”, I can perhaps catch an hour’s worth of my favorite daytime TV shows–mostly game shows as I didn’t care much for soap operas! But attending school while not attending school would be my be-all-to-end-all!

That was then, and this is now. In today’s post modern society, kids were teleconferencing their schooling sessions via their laptops, electronic pads, and their phones with mixed results. Some liked it since it was another part of their usual screen-time antics. Others did miss seeing everyone in person. And a few did see this as a thing of the future. However, kids from those of the single digit age groups to those attending higher education had their own personal dilemmas to face.

But thanks to his group that has been wired up since birth, it’s all part of a catchphrase that’s expressed through social media platforms. As time progresses for its better or for its otherwise, school days are just that–school days!

Looking back to that video schooling I would never receive, I will state that without being with those other kids within the classroom, I would have never had the opportunity to hone the “talents” I possessed at the time and to use those fellow kids as part of my “subjects”, or even “victims”! What I am speaking about here is part of yet another episode of my life and times that I may write about in a future article in ALO-L.

So I better wolf down my cupcakes, chug-a-lug my glass of milk, put on my school clothes, and head on out so I don’t miss the first school bell scheduled to ring at 9:00 AM under partly cloudy skies and 67 degrees.

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