My daughter returned to school today.  Tuesday is her one day of in-person classes that go from 8:45 all the way to 3:30 P.M.   

It’s been 84 days since she was in the building that long.  It all started back in November, when her brother arrived home for Thanksgiving, necessitating a required quarantine of any school-age siblings. (We could have also required him to quarantine, but I still don’t know how that could have been achieved.)

After Thanksgiving, Son #1 returned to his rented home near campus for the last two weeks of his semester.  When he came back after his finals finished, that started the quarantine clock all over again. 

By January, our daughter could have gone back.  But between holidays and snow days, it seemed silly to return for one last day in the fall semester.  

Last week the Tuesday in-person day became a snow day. 

Finally, today was her day.  (She’ll have one more next week—and then she’ll be out for two more Tuesdays for February vacation week and the Vermont traditional Town Meeting Day.) 

At this point, she’s got a whole routine for “doing school” by Zoom. She even considered staying completely remote, which is an option still for our entire district.  

As we drove in this morning, she confirmed she was kind of enthused about being back in the classroom.  When I picked her up this afternoon, she summarized her day a bit differently.  After so much time away, she said, “It feels strange.  People were really quiet.”

After a bit more thought, she added, “It’s like we are all so used to just being on Zoom that we just don’t answer.  It’s like we are waiting for everyone else, not talking over them.”   

Just as I start down some mental path of wondering if this is a sign of some huge societal change, my husband jumped in. “You mean your teachers didn’t have to make all of you be quiet and pay attention for a change?  I bet that was tough!”   

I think my husband found unique silver lining today.