Publisher’s Editorial

The nice thing about writing a weekly editorial, is that it allows me to express some of my frustrations and anger in writing.
Then, once I’ve gotten things off my chest, I delete everything and start on the actual submission to be published.
This week I had quite a rant, but it turned into something that didn’t really look the way I wanted it to. 
After reading it, I realized it was a bunch of pure hypocrisy.
Sometimes the most important button on the keyboard is Delete.
A good lesson for another time.
I am sharing one part of it though.
Last week the Governor made a statement urging all schools to lift their mask mandates.
The local school board met on Monday at noon to decide what we were going to do.
We had some good discussion, and ultimately voted that St. Ansgar wouldn’t require masks, but still recommend their use.
The announcement was made shortly thereafter, and after all but 2 weeks left in the school year, the kids could finally be at school without their mask.
To finally be looking at the finish line of this whole ordeal is absolutely amazing.
Our administration and staff have done an incredible job over the last year plus to keep our kids safe and educated – IN THE SCHOOLS!!
But the real heroes have been the kids.
It was pretty simple for them, when you realize what kind of people we are raising around here.
They were told to do something, so they did it.
Probably not perfectly all the time. They are still kids after all.
No complaints or whining. No demands that masks don’t even work or arguing that they are worse off wearing them than getting COVID. 
Heck, most of them wore masks even in situations where it wasn’t always necessary.
Here’s the shocking part.
To most if them, it wasn’t a big deal.
Now for the last 2 weeks, it’s up to the kids and their parents to mask or not.
End of story, right?
It should be, but it’s not.
I voted NO.
It was a public meeting, and there were some parents and citizens on the call. Most of those in attendance were in favor of removing the mandate, which I think coincides with the general feelings around our area.
To me, there wasn’t any reason to change what had worked since August, but I wasn’t going to be upset if the vote passed.
After the vote, there was some discussion about timing and some other details, and the call ended.
I talked to my kids that evening, and asked if they were going to wear their masks for the last 2 weeks or not.
We are honestly letting them choose what they want to do. 
Our youngest says he’s going to keep wearing his so he can make it the whole year wearing one.
He’s pretty competitive.
Our oldest says she’ll probably wear it most of the time until they are done with state track.
Our middle child wasn’t sure what she would do. Probably what her friends and her decide together.
All 3 answers worked for me, and I was pretty good with the board’s decision.
Monday night I got 2 messages.
Tuesday, I had a couple of comments from people around town.
Apparently, some people took my vote personally.
None of these people were at the meeting. None of them asked me why I voted the way I did. 
Just a few snide comments and some jabs that “my side” lost.
Whatever that means??
I wish those people would have asked me why I was a NO, but they are also the type that don’t really want to listen to an answer.
I would have told them that in my opinion, wearing a mask isn’t a big deal. Especially for the last 9 days of a school year.
That we spent months discussing the logistics for public health guidelines for face coverings, disinfection, social distancing, and everything else that needed to be done to get the kids in school last fall. Now we are spending minutes deciding on whether or not to take them off.
I would tell them that this pandemic was really scary for a lot of kids, and that after awhile, school might have felt like the safest place they could be. The procedures turned into habits that they didn’t think twice about. 
Will changing those habits re-establish that fear back into some of them?
I don’t know.
Will kids that really want to wear masks still do it, or will peer pressure win out? Will the kids that are trying to protect a family member at home feel excluded? 
I realize those sorts of questions come up in a lot of different scenarios, but with anything else, there is time to discuss them with our kids. 
Timing. Just really weird timing.
That’s the real issue I had with the Governor’s announcement. 
So, I guess I did get to have that conversation.
It just happened to be with all of you as well.
I also said in the meeting that I would support the decision that was made, and I certainly do.
Last week I talked about seeing teachers and kids happily walking into the school for another day.
I could tell they were happy by their body language, their eyes, and their demeanor.
Today, I could see their smiles and hear their laughter.
That’s when I realized that I was wrong about one thing.
This is a big deal.
Congrats and thanks to all of you that made this year work.
It’s good to see you again!

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