The Experience of Children During Pandemic is NOT Homogeneous: Some Folks Don’t Recognize That

Karen Gross

Can you see the steam rising from my head? We are in the middle of a pandemic and a Head of School (nameless here) in ____ (leaving state out) w/ tuition (flexible) ranging from $20,000 to over $40,000 per year — wrote a post about all the positives this experience is providing for him and the children/families in his school: eating dinners together, more sleep, less scheduling, meeting neighbors. His words glowed with all the many wonders of being confined.

His description of nirvana is sadly NOT the experience of many children … I believe in silver linings [but] we need to be honest about the experience of many many children. Here was my response to this Head of School. I am still fuming. My tone, I hope, is not nasty. I hope it is dose of reality. This Head of School needs it and those who upvoted his post need it too.

My response (edited for clarity) to the rose colored vision of one Head of School:

I don’t mean to throw water on your success and that of your community. You are fortunate. Many children are not experiencing what you describe sadly. Many have no home; their parents are working or deployed or ill or absent.

…[F] or many children school is the only SAFE place with adults who care and food that is available readily. And there is even peace and quiet and no drugs and no alcohol and no fighting and no abuse.

I’m sorry but I think your experience is far far far from universal. And, it makes others feel their situation is even worse. You [run] a private school with tuition, albeit flexible starting at $20,000 and riseing as high as $47,900. This is NOT the school most children attend.

For those students less fortunate, I wrote this book which I am distributing for free to help kids understand social distancing. Please share it or use it. It will help those children for whom their experience is a far cry from the goodness you are seeing.

I hope those reading my response will pause and reflect on whether their positive experience is shared and if so, by how many. I do believe in looking for silver linings. Those described are unavailable to many. And, as to meeting neighbors, goodness, that should have happened years ago. One doesn’t need a virus for that.