We officially survived the first week of remote school. And, now that it is in the past and I can't jinx anything, I am pleased to say that it went as well as I could possibly have hoped for. All the kids showed up, the teacher showed up, our enhanced internet was sufficient to support 4 different Zoom meetings at the same time, and despite the fact that it rained all day every day, no one lost their mind. Now I just hope that we can sustain this setup throughout the school year, but that goal feels infinitely more possible knowing that we did manage to do it for a week. I am impressed with the teacher, she is very calm and manages to keep the kids pretty focused on their work. My office is just a few steps away from the school room, with no intervening door, and I almost never hear the kids during the day. And, knowing what just my own two kids usually sound like during the day, that is really saying something.
I wish I could say that the situation outside our home was as hopeful as the situation inside it, but alas that is not the case. The COVID-19 situation in Wisconsin generally and the Madison area specifically is not looking too great at the moment, with case counts continuing to climb, largely among students and staff at the university. So, we are all on heightened alert and doing our best to minimize our contact with the outside world. Recreational activities have included "walking up a small hill and looking at nearby water towers" and "attempting to make a fire and then poking it with a stick." But, staying safe is the most important thing.
Even as someone who has now been working remotely for 5 years, I am feeling the increased level of remoteness in my life. Last week, I ran the remote Boston marathon, during which I saw a total of maybe 5 other humans along my early morning path west from my house. Yesterday, I met with my book group over Zoom. I'm taking a course this semester, which is also online only. So, more and more I feel like I am connected to the outside world only through technology. As the weather begins to feel more and more like fall, I worry a bit about what winter will be like. It is hard to imagine anyone becoming more reconnected with the outside world during that time. Stay strong everyone, and we will see you as soon as we can.