Arianne Brown: The 2020-21 school year is over, and it went something like this

First graders Gilbert Grant and Monty Fox wear masks as they wash their hands before lunch at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The Utah Legislature is set to tackle whether to ban face mask requirements in schools in a special session on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

First graders Gilbert Grant and Monty Fox wear masks as they wash their hands before lunch at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The Utah Legislature is set to tackle whether to ban face mask requirements in schools in a special session on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)



SALT LAKE CITY — Now that the 2020-21 school year has officially ended, it is time to reflect on the year that was.

And what was it exactly? Well, it was something. I'll give you that. It. Was. Something.

So, let's start at the beginning.

In September, things started out with a bang. Strike that. It started out quite timid-like. With the pandemic in full force, I sent my children to school with face coverings, hand sanitizer, and a hope and a prayer that they would return home to me with a clean bill of health that also included their mental sanity. Some of my kids fared well-ish, while most did not.

Home school it was (for my first grader at least)! His wiggly self had a hard time keeping his hands to himself, not to mention an entire day of sitting at desks with not much moving around was a little much for my sweet, talkative, tactile-loving boy. This year was a little too on the structured side for his liking.

Thankfully, my degree in elementary education and early childhood (with over a decade of teaching years under my belt) came in handy, and we were able to start his home school year off strong. And as far as I'm concerned, a strong start is all that matters. We started off strong. But the boy can read. Thank heavens the boy can read!

The school year that was continued on with a few of my children opting for a hybrid option to balance out the imbalance that was their current educational situation. This was all fine and good except for the fact that there were variants in their schedules, and I found myself shuttling kids to and from school way too often than I care to admit. Then, of course, there was the fact that the majority of their in-school classes were mostly online anyway. This online option gave my middle school and high school-aged children the green light to say things like, "I'll just get my work done at home."

Now, that leads me to the next issue.

When your children are doing schoolwork at home, you (the parent) tend to forget to excuse those absences. Yeah, about that. There's a thing called a no grade. Apparently, it happens when there are two or more unexcused absences. Let's just say that I now fear the letters N and G far more than the letter F, because "NG" is code for parental NeGlect.

Not only was balancing schedules and home schooling a way of everyday life, but let's talk about quarantine.

If you don't remember quarantine, let me refresh your memory, that you might very well be suppressing this unfortunate way of life. Quarantine was something that happened if a) your child was exposed to COVID-19 outside of the home, or b) if you or someone in your household got COVID-19.

I kid you not, every other friggin week, we were getting notes telling us of potential exposure. And I get it. Whatever side of the debate you are on, you hafta' admit that being told that your child can't go anywhere for a week or two, AND that you could potentially have this awful, AWFUL virus in your home, it is a total bummer.

Speaking of said virus infiltrating homes, it got ours. We go it. It was terrible. 'Nuf said.

Following the month in near-death camp, we hung on for dear life through the winter. Marching, marching through the motions. Marching, marching, marching. January through April in our house, at least, all blended together in one big head-down-slosh-through-mud experience.

Then the sky opened up, and the governor said that students and teachers could go to the last week of school without face masks. "Give kids an opportunity to see their teachers, to see their friends, to spend that last week together without masks, if they so choose," were Gov. Cox's exact words.

Enter: the big face reveal.

Well, um. Let's just say that the bacteria buildup under even the cleanest of masks for hours at a time, did not do some of my children so well. So we finished strong with the masks on, and now to treat the pimple problem.

The year that was, is officially over, and what a year it was. What a year it was.

How was your 2020-21 school year? Give us your rundown in the comment section.

More from Arianne Brown:


About the Author: Arianne Brown

Arianne Brown is a mother of nine awesome children and a former collegiate runner who is blending those two worlds one written word at a time. To read more of her articles, visit Arianne's KSL.com author page.

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