Omicron, the latest variant of COVID-19, is wreaking havoc in American homes, once again bulldozing daily routines and overthrowing any chance most kids have at a normal childhood. Additionally, incorporating the tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 schools has sparked a controversy involving the government, parents, students, faculty, and staff. As a result, caring for children over the last two years has become like navigating a circus funhouse. To many parents, it’s like being stuck in a series of dark corridors, mirror mazes, and unsteady floors, just hoping to make their way safely through the chaos. Facing one obstacle after another, how are America’s families managing this carnival of horror?
Challenges for Parents and Pupils
Typically, the end of Christmas break means back-to-class for young scholars. Instead, however, the increase in Omicron cases thrust families back into the snake pit of mandates, quarantines, shutdowns, and e-learning.
Thousands of U.S. schools tried to slow the spread by staying closed for the first weeks of January. Others started the year with in-person learning, causing significant turmoil for parents unsure if they should send their kids to class. Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist, is sympathetic to families and the decisions they must make. She stated: “This is torture for parents. It makes parents feel hopeless and powerless. The sense of fatigue is very real, and resilience is very frail.”
Unfortunately, adults are not the only ones affected by the disarray. The plethora of mandates and rule changes, not to mention going weeks without seeing their friends, has taken its toll on America’s youth. As a result, some children are falling behind academically, while others are struggling with depression and anxiety due to the solitude of quarantine.
Jill Drouillard, the mother of a 15-year-old Tennessee student, expressed how difficult it has been to keep her daughter at home. “I just knew for our safety it was the best thing. And she got real depressed and had a lot of anxiety, to where her doctor said she had lost 15 pounds. And she’s a little thing. So that was really scary.”
Are We Masking Again?
It has been a frequent – and controversial – topic among school board members and student guardians since nearly the beginning of the pandemic: Can the administration force students to wear masks, or is it up to the parents to choose? At least one school in nearly every state has kept its mask mandate in place or reinstated the command while Omicron numbers are increasing.
In Virginia, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order allowing parents to decide if they want their children to wear masks. He feels it is a guardian’s right. This law change was met with both support and discontent. Advocates of the directive appreciate that they have the authority to do what they feel is best for their children and family. Others were not so welcoming of the new law.
Seven school boards are suing Youngkin based on their disagreement with the rule. Speaking Jan. 24, members of the boards said, “This legal action centers on fundamental questions about the framework of public education in Virginia, as set out in the Virginia Constitution and by the General Assembly.” They also offered to work with the governor to ensure that students and staff are safe and protected.
Critical Race Theory
Seemingly content with enraging every progressive in the state, Youngkin also signed an executive order banning Critical Race Theory from the state’s curriculum. CRT is an ideology that places race at the center of all social interactions, with whites framed as the oppressors and black and brown people as the victims.
It seems that some teachers have no intention of adhering to the new edict. Liberty Nation Socio-Political Correspondent Jeff Charles wrote, “Some educators have indicated they would refuse to comply with the governor’s ban and teach these concepts anyway. This mirrors the remarks of other teachers across the country who have said they will teach what they want regardless of the law.”
For parents, CRT is just another stumbling block inconveniently placed in the center of the funhouse walkway. As if there weren’t already enough going on, now they must worry about what their children are learning in school and what consequences they may face if radical theories like CRT continue to be jammed into kids’ absorbent minds.
As Omicron sweeps through the nation and schools morph into ideological battlegrounds, families are stumbling through the constantly changing rules and running face-first into the mirrored wall that appeared to be a clear escape. Hold on for dear life because the ride isn’t over yet.
~ Read more from Kirsten Brooker.