Today is the last day—a half day at that—of Richmond Public Schools before they shut down for at least two weeks to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Sending kids home to help #flattenthecurve is the right decision, but it does put a lot of sudden, not-entirely-unexpected stress on families to fill the enormous gap left behind by a shuttered public school. I certainly didn’t realize it, but the not-knowing about schools had filled up my life with a background radiation of anxiety. Now that the decision to close has been made, that particular anxiety has vanished, and I feel…different. I’m a lot less clear on what happens next. The unknown is a new kind of anxiety, and, honestly, it feels like we’re just getting started on that.
I’ve got a lot of questions about what life looks like after its familiar routines get twisted and bent by the unknown. Do we make the big pot of coffee every day instead of just on the weekends? Do we have recess, but, like, for the whole family? Does anyone expect any work to really get done? How bent and twisted will our routines get and how long will it take for those new routines to feel commonplace? When will things get back to normal? Will this be the new normal?
Today is the first day of living in a Richmond that’s starting to get twisted and bent by the coronavirus.