Let’s get right down to the point this week: Orchids, and lots of them, to all the teachers, paraprofessionals and aides out there who spent the last two school years trying to do their jobs amidst the chaos and disorder brought on by mitigation tactics meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, and who stuck it out, and are back in their classrooms this week.
You all deserve a medal just for showing up day after day, week after week, to teach the nation’s youth, while a cloud of uncertainty swirled endlessly around you.
From the early onset of the virus and the rapid switch to online teaching, to the constantly changing rules, you all focused on the basics: Teaching kids.
You did your jobs regardless of what came your way, from silly six foot classroom distancing rules to the general uncomfortable feeling that at any point on any day you too could catch the virus.
As I dropped my boys off for the first day of the 2022-23 school year, I couldn’t help but pause for a second in the parking lot and reflect on where we have been, where we are going, and, unfortunately, the pockets of kids we lost along the way.
Not to the virus necessarily, but to the bi-product of social isolation and questionable mitigation tactics.
How many kids slipped through the cracks over the past two years?
Orchids to the local school administrators and school board members who did their jobs over the past two school years as well. While we might not all agree with some of their decisions or tactics, we should all be wise enough to understand that they too found themselves in uncharted waters when COVID-19 hit and kept on hitting.
If you put yourselves in their shoes for a moment, setting aside politics, your own personal feelings and conspiracy theories, and just consider the weight on their shoulders while making decisions that could be the difference between life and death in some situations (particularly early on when less was known about the foe we were battling) then it’s a little easier to empathize with them.
At the end of the day, most, if not all, of them did what they did for your kids.
Hopefully we’ve turned a corner now and 2022-23 is a better school year all around.
Speaking of schools, onions to parents, guardians, siblings, or whomever else drives children to school in the morning and then drives out of the busy parking lot glancing at their cell phone as they go.
You must be the dumbest of the dumb to succumb to the urge to check your texts or social media while vehicles, busses and students are moving this way and that at 8 a.m. in a school zone.
What could possibly be so important?
I drive my kids to school every day, and every day I see at least one person if not multiple people on their phones as they are driving out of the lot or waiting at the stop sign to enter the busy street that runs by the building.
It’s hard to believe the rest of us have to share the same planet with you.
Speaking of schools, students and parents — Onions to the parents of the University of Minnesota-Duluth student who started a petition to get rid of the new UMD mascot (a yellow bulldog with teeth clenched in growling fashion) and return to the old style suit because the new one was too scary.
You failed to prepare your little angel for the real world. All that lawn mower parenting left junior or juniorette a quivering bowl of jelly.
Of course, he or she wasn’t the only one offended by the new look of “Champ the Bulldog.” Thousands of people signed the petition and UMD officials buckled under the weight of the controversy quickly.
According to a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune the new suit drew comparisons to an “angry Winnie the Pooh and sparked concerns that it would frighten kids with its bared teeth and furrowed brow.”
The move even spawned the hashtag #notmychamp.
Beam me up, scotty.
Finally, orchids to Twin Metals Minnesota for filing a suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., late last month to reclaim its mineral leases and reverse a series of actions by federal agencies aimed at preventing its mine project in northeastern Minnesota.
“We are standing up for our right to a fair and consistent environmental review of our proposed mining project, said Dean DeBeltz, Twin Metals director of operations. “Our plan is backed by decades of exploration and analysis and is rooted in the most environmentally sophisticated design, which is tailored for our project location and mineral deposit. It deserves a fair evaluation by federal regulators based on its merits.’’
“The three goals of this lawsuit are really to reinstate our federal leases which we’ve held in good standing (since the 1960s); to reverse the decision to cancel our mine plan of operations which was submitted for environmental review on a both federal and state level; and also to reinstate our preference right lease applications, which is a step in perfecting a lease,’’ said DeBeltz. The preference right lease applications are “other areas of potential mineral development where we know the minerals exist and we are demanding that we advance that application process.’’
Additional orchids to the representatives from Jobs for Minnesotans, Range Association of Municipalities and Schools, Better in Our Backyard, Mining Minnesota, the Iron Range Building Trades and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 who attended the news conference to speak out in favor of the lawsuit.