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It was no surprise, but that doesn't stop the in-school classrooms delay from being a disappointment

Dealing with the pandemic causes nearly all of us headaches, heartaches and a general sense of "what happened to my world." But I can't think of many jobs I would rather not have during this COVID-19 summer than being a lead school administrator.

TONY AHERNMost of us have the benefit of generally knowing what environment we're presented in order to do our jobs. For schools, though, they've had to shake off the reeling feeling of what they went through in the spring in order to make a sound plan for the fall — all while facing a floating, shifting reality. Prep for in-school classes, remote only, a hybrid? All this while not having the capacity to fully make the decision themselves. That call would ultimately belong to Gov. Kate Brown.

It's hard to blame the governor — well, I guess many don't have any problem doing that — but balancing the want-to with the should-do when it comes to COVID-19 is a thankless, arduous task. But in late July, the governor made the decision for the districts: until some substantial improvement is made in harnessing this virus, there will be no in-classroom education. It didn't come as a surprise as the state, like most of the country, struggled with rising COVID stats throughout July. We need to change the trajectories before we can change the course of our lives out this COVID-dominated nightmare.

But our school districts have had the task through the summer to prepare for what might come, whether it be in-person learning, virtual learning or a hybrid of the two. The public can make plans that way too, for better or worse.

OK, let's be honest — it's worse. Everyone had hoped for a return to normal.

When I'm looking for a silver lining, something to comfort me when the world seems amiss, I think of the William Faulkner quote upon receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail."

That will be the case against COVID as well, in due time. Every day, scientists are getting closer to treatment, developing medicine to help people survive the virus, and to a vaccine to keep people from getting it. It won't be long.

Meanwhile, 2020 will endure, the year of living dangerously and educating remotely. We'll tackle it, and indeed, we'll prevail.

— Tony Ahern is a publisher for Pamplin Media Group.


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