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  • Dan Orawiec

Education is Essential

As summer comes to a close, we’re finding ourselves in unknown territory. The

summer is supposed to be full of both energy and relaxation. Parties with family and friends, afternoons at the baseball diamond and concerts on the green. You don’t need me to point out all of the ways this summer has been different. In fact, the past six months have all felt relatively the same, just with a different degree of humidity. After such a long stretch of staying close to home, wearing masks and social distancing, we’re all ready for a change.

The start of a new school year usually closes the door on summer fun, but also starts a new exciting chapter in our children’s lives. New teachers, classmates and curriculums all create an array of new experiences. We all adjust to new routines, and the year begins to roll along. Before we know it, we’re buying Halloween candy, then stuffing ourselves on turkey at Thanksgiving, and in a blink we’re watching the ball drop at Times Square.

This year, however, the dominating feeling is that life is on hold and waiting to be determined. More students than ever want to return to school after months at home, but it appears that most schools won’t be welcoming them back to school for full-time in-person instruction. The majority of school districts and superintendents have decided the risk of spreading COVID is too high to allow students to return to class full-time, while some districts and many independent schools have taken steps to open in full with extra safety precautions and procedures in place. While I fully appreciate the public health concerns involved in sending students back to school, I also feel that full-time in-person instruction is an essential service that needs to be available to our children.

My oldest daughter will be starting kindergarten this year, and I was disappointed to see that our town’s public school district decided to start the year with a hybrid model where students only attend class in-person two days each week. At such a critical stage of development, my wife and I felt it was a priority for her to attend school five days a week. Thankfully, we were able to find an independent school in our town that planned on reopening in full. Offering smaller class sizes and a number of policies and practices to keep students healthy, my daughter’s new school has provided us with a sense of relief and excitement that we haven’t felt in a long time.

Along with this September issue, you’ll also find our Education Resource Guide (ERG) at newsstands where you can learn more about the excellent independent schools in your area. I hope that you find one that is a perfect fit for your family. You’ll also find great information in this issue that will help you prepare your child to return to school, and offer some advice for parenting during our current pandemic.

Whatever your back to school scenario is, remember to keep a positive attitude for the sake of your child. Our kids are much more adaptable than we think, so if we make the best of the situation, they’re sure to follow suit.

I wish you and your family a safe and healthy start to the new school year,and I hope to see you out there soon — from at least six feet away


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