• Not going back.

Day 30

It is April 10.

It's been one month since we learned the news we were leaving school.

It's Good Friday.

I woke to a fresh layer of snow dusting the new blooms and greenery.

Yesterday I was writing a post about the shock having work off. As that draft was sitting there waiting to be finished, we received news that the Pennsylvania Governor declared all schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year.

Even though we were fairly certain it would come to pass, it was a bitter pill to swallow.

For the past few weeks we have been looking at our situation with different eyes. At the beginning we were dealing with the initial shock, the transition to a new normal, and working though start-up issues. Having no definitive answer, we were truly working day by day, looking no further than the next two weeks ahead.

There was a wave of emotion from our administrative staff as we learned the news from our superintendent. We tried to absorb as much as we could then, from our staff and parents.

Knowing we will not go back has opened that backpack of worries we were all carrying around us. It's going to take some time to unpack those worries and questions.

But we have not heard from our children. We weren't there to see their faces as parents told them the news. We weren't able to put our positive, silver-lining spin on the message for them. We couldn't hug them or wipe their tears of disappointment...different kinds of tears at each level.

We are all thinking about the transition grades, starting with our seniors. The death of expectations; traditions that have been passed on for decades. I think about my fifth graders. Kids I've spent my day with for the past 5+ years who I will not get to usher into their middle school years. No ceremony, no celebration, no saying good-bye.

Most haunting for me are the eyes of the kids who were so upset on March 13 as they boarded the buses to go home.

There is a certain look from a child that breaks me. It goes beyond an expression or emotion... in their eyes I see those things, but also see the brutal truth as their eyes search mine for answers I don't have. I've seen that uncertainty and fear more times than I care to remember, but I do remember each and every time.

The eyes of my former 7th grade students as they mourned their classmate Matt in their 8th grade years. They eyes of my students as they buried classmates who were killed in car accidents. They eyes of the brother and sister I had to inform that their father had died. My own daughter searching my face as we mourned the loss of her friend who lost her battle to osteo-sarcoma.

The same look was in the eyes of too many of our kids on March 13, and I can't get them out of my head.

We will start to unpack those questions later. But today, Good Friday, we are feeling the darkness of this day. But we will see our kids again. We will get to hug them, we will recover, and they will be ok. We have that to hold on to...and we have to hold on to that.

There is hope in the message of this day.

But there is a sense of heaviness we must first wade through today.

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