Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

School's Out, Forever
Jennifer Flaten

Do you have your surgical mask on? You don't! Well, go get one on before you read another single word.

Why do you need a mask? Because I don't want you spewing any of your potential swine flu germs onto the internet, that's why.

What? You can't spread the flu via the internet. Are you sure? Huh, imagine that!

Well, you can't fault me for being concerned. All the reports I've read indicate we will soon be running around in giant hamster balls to protect ourselves from the nasty germs.

Blame it on the media, according to them, the germs are zooming down our streets right now, preparing to kick our doors down and infect us!

Give it about a week and Google will have some sort of street-by-street mapping that will let you know where the germs will strike next.

I am certainly not making fun of the flu; I really do understand that it has killed people.

Therefore, it is necessary to take the proper precautions, such as wearing your hazmat suit to run out for a gallon of milk.

Also, if you have to sneeze and you don't have a tissue make sure to sneeze down your shirt, keep your damn germs to yourself!

Personally, my biggest concern is whether my kids school will stay open or not (yeah that's right it's all about me).

I wait with bated breath for the announcement from our district. I have reason to be concerned, a precedent has been set; the big daddy of school districts for our area, MPS closed several schools "indefinitely".

Indefinitely, what the hell does that mean?

Apparently, it means no more teachers, no more books-til next year. Oh yeah, the schools could reopen, but why when summer is a mere 4 weeks away.

I don't know what it is like for other satellite suburbs, but around here if the biggest district closes it doesn't take long for the smaller districts succumb to peer-pressure and close.

One smaller school district in my area has already shut down until May 11th.

That means if the students do return to school, and that is a huge if, they will have 3.5 weeks left before summer vacation.

After you figure in early releases, Memorial Day and end-of-year celebrations, I estimate the kids will receive about 5 days of actual learning before summer vacation, and that is if the school reopens.

Unfortunately, the only people alarmed at the prospect of children missing all that education time is the parents.

That's right the parents, you know the people who have to work to put food on the table for said kids who are now free to roam around aimlessly.

The health department rep is telling people to anticipate additional closings this week and to make "other" arrangements.

Uhm, what other arrangements would I have? School is my arrangement, they go to school and I go to work, see how my arrangement works.

Do they really expect parents to stay home from work in this nasty economy? If your job is dangling by a frayed thread, staying home for over a week with your kid is probably not such a hot idea.

Of course, you could stuff your kid in daycare. Yep, put them in daycare, where they would spend their day mingling with a bunch of other kids, sharing toys and germs, all the things the school closure prevents.

The health department strongly recommends that the furloughed students and teachers stay home.

Uh-huh, you gotta wonder what the health department officials have besides coffee in their cups.

I mean its spring; the weather is beautiful. I ask you, what red-blooded teenager is going to hole up inside their house alone?

Okay, maybe one or two social outcasts will hole up at home; the rest of the kids will be out at the movies, the mall and the beach in big packs spreading their germs everywhere they go.

Remember that district that closed until May 11th?

Well, the local news interviewed a bunch of students and asked them what they would do while they were off, most said go out with friends. The reporter gently reminded them that the Health Department wanted them to stay home to control the spread of the flu.

The kids response was a shrug and a "yeah, but I would go insane if I stayed home everyday".

You know only weeks ago, the media was lamenting how we humans as a whole are becoming secluded and weird, we supposedly spend all our time inside tethered to the internet "twittering" and updating our face book pages.

Yet, we are now brought low by a virus that spreads by human contact. I am pretty sure that even under the strictest definitions this qualifies as irony.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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