Dealing with the Pandemic: A Roller Coaster Ride

Posted on: Tue, 06/09/2020 - 09:00

As Maryland moves into Stage 2 of re-opening and the sun shines brightly on warm spring days, I almost have to remind myself we are still dealing with a pandemic crisis. These months have felt like a roller coaster ride.

A roller coaster ride is the best way I have found to describe navigating this pandemic: constant twists and turns, ups and downs, moments of joy and moments of fear.

A roller coaster tends to move so quickly that you cannot always be sure what is coming next. During the pandemic, conditions constantly evolved and changed, which created havoc in our planning efforts. Every simple procedure became so much more complicated and required adaptations. For example, when did we ever imagine that we'd be asking principals to develop a scheduled plan so that teachers and students could retrieve items from their rooms/lockers at the end of the school year?

And I will confess that there were many times when I was frustrated by the guidance or lack of guidance from state leaders; however, I had to remind myself that those leaders are dealing with the unimaginable too, as well as intense political pressure and scrutiny. I have to work on my empathy in this regard. Aren't we all identifying growth opportunities in this crisis?

When riding a roller coaster, there are certain things that are absolutely essential, namely a seat belt and safety restraint!

My "safety restraint" on this roller coaster pandemic has been the FCPS senior leaders. They are dauntless, committed, creative, persistent, and tireless in doing what is right for students and staff. I cannot commend or thank them enough.

My "seat belt" on this roller coaster has been my fellow superintendents. We call each other frequently to provide support and to gain insight. I have always been grateful for our Public Schools Superintendents Association of Maryland and the monthly meetings that have kept us connected. Those connections matter now more than ever!

The ride is not yet over, and I anticipate a few more unexpected turns. However, I believe that at the end of this roller coaster ride, I will be smiling because our team navigated the ride successfully and can now debrief on the adventure!