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Facing Face to Face

In case you haven’t noticed, the pupils in your local elementary school and high school have started to physically go to school since the recent weeks, well at least some of them have been doing so. This time, the face to face classes are not like what they used to be before this pandemonium of a pandemic set the whole world in a panic. Classes are held just in the morning. Then the kids are free for the afternoon. I wish we had it like this when we were kids. School would have been a lot less stressful. There would have been more time to watch TV or go around the neighborhood with the other kids. Oh man, this generation really has it good.

I asked a Grade 6 pupil if he would like to go to face to face classes. He told me that he would rather not, reasoning that he would rather go face to face on the next school year; because after all, it’s already the last quarter of the current school year. If you come to think of it, that logic from a thirteen year old makes some sense. Yes, the storm’s over, but it’s already 6 pm. Maybe we should wait for the next morning at 6 am for us to open the store. Anyway, it’s getting dark. Maybe, we could use the time to clean up and make sure we’ll be ready for a good business day on the next morning. Although, on the other hand, one could say that the store should open even at that time of the evening to offer service for the clients who could now freely go out of their houses and shop for necessities, and make up for the lost time when the storm was raging the whole day, and shoppers could not go out freely to buy at the store.

That same Grade 6 pupil whom I asked, used to badger me with questions on when face to face classes would resume, complaining that modular learning and online classes are very inconvenient, stressing on the undeniable advantages of studying in the same place and time with the teacher. It is quite interesting how wind directions have changed in the course of time. Maybe some children have become accustomed to waking up late in the morning, doing the modules anytime, even late at night, then sleeping late at night, while tinkering with their smart phones or whatever in between writing activities.

Don’t you think we’re all being too inappropriately overcautious with going back to physical classes? Don’t you think we’re all unnecessarily tiptoeing on taking steps when the pavement’s clear already? Since the time that children have been allowed in public places, they’ve been running around the malls, sitting inside fast food shops, huddled around each other, with their face masks sometimes slipping off, unmindful of handwashing and alcohol and that vague concept of social distance. How about the kids around your neighborhood? Don’t they run around the streets and get together in the barangay plaza or covered court just like the old pre-pandemic times? Don’t they sit to close to each other in one of their playmates’ living room , not really caring if they had sanitized their upper limbs? Then, all of a sudden, they would be observing strict steps of study and sanitation in the controlled environment of the school.

Wait a minute, run it by me again. Why are we wearing masks again? Why are we squirting alcohol on our hands? Why are we asked to wash our hands from time to time? Why are we guided with arrows to walk only in one direction and stand on circles on the floor to keep distance from everyone else? And why do we throw all these away in the malls, parks, and inside our homes? Yes, I get the whole idea of being careful, but why would you cover your head with an umbrella when it’s not raining and the sun is not shining? That would have been fine when the storm was raging or if the sun is blazing hot. But in this cloudy and windy day, maybe you’d just weary your arms in holding tightly on that umbrella when you’d do just fine in folding it and walking easily.

When my niece and nephew went back to in-person classes (as they refer to it in the US), they went to class as they did before the pandemic, except that they wore masks; (and when my nephew had a cough, he was immediately recommended for a Covid test); while our schools are being too wary while at the same time candidate supporters stand too close to each other in political rallies. What’s up with that?

“Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” -Ephesians 5:15-16


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