Sunday, July 19, 2020

Weeks 17 & 18: Quarantine Blog

Sorry I've been MIA for a couple weeks, but there's just not much new going on around here these days (and not too many pictures... sorry)! There has been quite a bit of news in the past 2 weeks to post about, but the biggest decision around here has been about going back to school. Between watching the Governor's addresses, youtube board meetings and virtual open houses from the schools, I've been going back and forth on a daily basis on whether or not to take our chances with "Plan B" and go back for 1 week every three, or just sign up for the virtual academy... but more on that later! I hope this post finds you all well and tucked safely inside your homes!
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Brian instituted a new policy at our house that you have to eat a chocolate chip every hour to make sure you can still taste it, and that should let us know if anyone is getting the virus... I'm pretty sure it's just going to make us all diabetic and fat! I like this idea though...
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Mask problems for those of us with glasses...
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I've bought so many different types of masks for the kids to try since they'll have to wear them everytime we go out and when they go back to school, but Ben is proving to be a tricky one... We keep trying though, and having short "mask practice" sessions with quick trips to the store. 
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New milestones being hit every week: This one, the US hit over 3 million cases. Not the milestone I was hoping to see.
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Timeline of recent events shows a lot of slowing down of reopening plans...
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North Carolina is STILL not doing our part to lower the cases...
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This is not surprising in the least. I'm not sure what happened with the plan of not having more than 25 people in a space unless they can be 6 feet apart... I guess that rule doesn't apply to everyone.
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Talk about bad timing! A global pandemic is probably NOT the time to leave the WHO 😟
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Many more famous people and leaders are testing positive...
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In unrelated virus news, a brand new book has hit the shelves! This should be interesting...
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As much as I want schools to reopen in a perfect world too, the reality is that it is far from that right now, and I'm glad that many people are voicing their concerns. We still keep waiting to hear word though what our Governor has to say about schools...
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This is insane (and untrue), but I'm honestly not surprised and am interested to see what other crazy people pop up in the next few months...
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Brian follows this graph daily, and we're not looking too hot as a nation these days...
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Following the news that the CDC said this virus is "airborne" (didn't we know that already????), Trump was seen wearing a mask for the first time. We've been wearing ours for months now, but glad to see he's gotten on board, finally!
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Making our mask wearing even more uncomfortable is the insanely hot days we've been experiencing these two weeks! We've been spending each day at the pool that we're allowed, and staying inside as much as possible. We haven't even been able to sit outside in the driveway and hang out with friends!
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This is PERFECT to describe how we feel down here...
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Hot days bring with them ice cream, so we ventured out with our masks to pick up some local, fresh ice cream and found they have a nice socially-distanced space with picnic tables to sit and enjoy. We still had to be quick though, since the ice cream didn't stand a chance against the heat... or Ben!
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Speaking of hot places, Florida has become the new hot spot, with over 15,000 cases a day being reported... A lot of state updates have continued to include delaying reopening, mask mandates, and the big return to education debate...
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NYC finally announced they will NOT be reopening schools fully, but on a modified schedule of 1-3 days per week based on the numbers. I like how Cuomo isn't being pushed into anything by the threat of pulled funding, and he seems to have a good plan backed by scientific data. One can only hope we will follow suit...
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So, here in NC, we still await the information we need to decide what plan works best for us...
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And on July 14, Governor Cooper announced his school reopening plan, which approved us to open under Plan B, but with ALL students (including K-5) wearing masks, and strict guidelines and plans on closing based on numbers... Now the question becomes, what will WE do?????
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Even though the plan is to open schools under Plan B, there is still a very real threat of needing to close and move to plan C. Of course, the option of the Virtual Academy was still on the table to make things even more confusing.
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He also "threw in" this information in the last minute of his briefing that his phase two order is being extended ANOTHER 3 weeks, with no further opening happening until at least August 7. 
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Based on the rising numbers, and the "science"... this is pretty much how I feel...
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Yes... Let's make sure science doesn't stand in the way of our decision here... 👌
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All of these school decisions, with still very few details from the actual schools, has left parents FILLED with questions and doubts to figure out for themselves.
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The only guidelines we have been given is approximate time frames of what school will look like in the different scenarios...
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So many things to consider, including what kind and how many masks to send in each day, do they have enough hand sanitizer they can use, how will they feel sitting by themselves all day, and how do you make lunch "contact free" and easy to eat in the classroom? How did we get here?!?!?!?!
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And of course, I'm sure this isn't real (or is it?!?!?!), but what WILL schools LOOK like???? It's all getting to be a bit too much for me...
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As the information SLOWLY starts rolling in, people began signing kids up for the virtual academy for the sake of consistency of the kids and peace of mind knowing where they will be each day (by the end of the week, enrollment would be at 50%).
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Then, to make things even more confusing, our school had rumblings of going back on it's "Plan B" and starting with Plan C...
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Things have gotten pretty confusing, so someone posted this "explanation" of how the plans will work, and I don't know about you, but I'm just more confused reading it...
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Now, THIS one, is most definitely what sums it up for me...
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Unfortunately, "science" isn't showing us that this is the best choice right now in terms of the virus. As far as education, social interaction, face-to-face-time with a teacher vs. a computer, childcare needs with working parents, and the emotional needs of our kids, it has become clear that this decision is going to be difficult and different for everyone to make.
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So for our family, we have decided to stay home a bit longer and we signed up for the Virtual Academy. After weighing MANY options, and still with many questions unanswered, this is where I am finding peace right now. I have faith that our family can navigate this virtual learning together, and we can be successful and safe. We hope to be able to help out our close friends in whatever situation they are in, as it is truly going to take a village to get through this time!
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To celebrate our decision and in an attempt to find some happiness in "moving forward", I was able to enjoy an awesome evening with my siblings and cousins that I haven't seen for years on a Zoom call! We hope to do it again soon, but what fun amidst a crazy week!
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A few parting words of encouragement for all of you who are still making school and work decisions, and for each of us that is just trying to survive right now... You're not in it alone! 
Love to you all, and be healthy and safe!
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