Carnes: What’s a parent to do?
It is the ultimate illogical, unreasonable and/or senseless situation for any Eagle County parent to be in at the moment.
It’s like applying for a loan to build credit but being denied because you have no credit; not getting a job on the ski mountain without a place to live but can’t get a place to live without a job; losing prescription glasses on Chair 5 but not being able to find them without your glasses; paying full price for a season ski pass but only being allowed to ski half the season.
Wait, that last one didn’t work, but if there ever was such a thing as a “Catch-22,” the conundrum of whether or not to send little Johnny or Janet back to school next month is it.
And our elected leaders are beside themselves, wallowing in the muck of indecision over which direction to choose, and when the direction is chosen how in the world it can actually be implemented.
So parents of kids K-12, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, are stuck somewhere between a moral rock and a financial hard place.
Parents want to hang with their kids, kids want to hang with their friends, and teachers want to teach their students.
But most parents cannot afford to keep staying at home, yet fear their child could become infected and spread the virus to them and other family members.
Although most kids are going to hang with their friends one way or another, teachers cannot afford to stay home either, yet they fear becoming infected as well, and have the same concerns of spreading the virus to their own family and friends.
Include janitors, cafeteria workers, administrators, etc., and the vast majority can no longer afford to stay home, especially with unemployment disappearing, savings depleted and the chances of another stimulus becoming as slim as Ford Amphitheater events being jampacked this week.
With the federal government performing their best Orwellian routine by telling us not to believe our eyes or ears and others possessing a pure nihilistic approach to the whole thing, what’s an Eagle County parent to do?
Take the risk, send them to school and keep your fingers crossed so you can pay the bills?
Or take the risk, keep them at home, and risk being evicted, having the mortgage foreclosed or vehicles repossessed while not paying any bills?
I suppose the kids would at least learn a little about finance.
Meanwhile, around the nation, more and more kids are testing positive, and though only a few hundred have died, the potential lifelong damage to lungs and other organs is unknown.
(Plus, I can’t believe I just wrote “only a few hundred have died” without tears hitting my keyboard)
It’s Schrödinger’s cat in a quandary of déjà vu. Open the box and your kid might be infected, thus spreading it around the family, or leave the box closed and be evicted, or much worse.
Not to be too morbid, but if your biggest fear for little Johnny is his missing out on education for a few months while laying on the couch, just think how much he’d miss laying in a casket.
Though gruesome, it’s relatively easy for me to say, for the reason you will not see any of my kids in Eagle County schools this year is because they are 33, 29, and 21. But if this virus crap had happened in the early 2000s when all three were in local schools, I can tell you without a doubt that I would —
Well, what I would have done is irrelevant, but I can truly say I feel for Eagle County parents/teachers and the difficult choices they’re being forced to make.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.