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home : opinion : editorial
September 27, 2020

7/29/2020 2:18:00 PM
A year for patience

We would be hard-pressed to find anyone with a tougher job these days than our school employees - and that means virtually everyone who draws a school paycheck.
During the next few weeks, staff members from schools across the county will fine-tune a back-to-school plan that is designed to keep students, teachers and other staff socially distant, yet effective in teaching and learning. They will each build a system that will no doubt be as stringent as anything they have ever imagined, yet fairly positive, or at least bearable, for everyone involved.
If you haven't given much thought to the challenges our educators face, we suggest you do just that. We have grown up in a world where we demand a lot from our schools and our staff members readily accept that challenge.
However, we are entering a school year that is littered with potential pitfalls and land mines. There are so many unknowns, it is hard to know where to begin.
Will COVID-19 become a bigger factor toward winter, when more people are spending time together indoors? Will some parents send children to school despite symptoms? If the disease spreads faster than hoped, will there be enough teachers, substitute teachers, school nurses and bus drivers?
Could we eventually see distance learning over an extended period? If so, how well can our staff and students handle that adjustment?
How will schools deal with discipline, family struggles and the social difficulties youth may encounter?
Many administrators are already confessing that, from a learning and educating standpoint, the upcoming school year is setting up to be far from ideal. That alone will leave countless people - from educators, to parents, to the students themselves - extremely frustrated.
Instinctively, many people will look to let off steam. In their search for someone to blame, many will undoubtedly settle on teachers and administration.
Our advice: Take a deep breath, show patience and maybe even a little compassion. These people are faced with a near impossible task and are doing their level best.
Our Cottonwood County school districts - Mt. Lake, Red Rock Central, Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Windom - all have excellent administrators, teachers and other staff. In an ordinary year, we should expect, even demand, top-shelf quality.
Heck, under ordinary circumstances these districts crave those expectations.
But this is a different year. It's a year when patience is a virtue. Please give them a break.
    - Rahn Larson

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