Weekly Reads: Back to Back to School Edition

Plus the Try Guys Meet Dr. Fauci!

The 2020/21 school year has been trial for teachers, students and parents across the globe. With school districts across the country planning on returning to some form of in person learning before the clock runs out, we thought this would be a good week to focus our Reads on the impact of remote learning and the various plans for some return to normalcy for our nations school age children.

The American Psychological Association raised concerns about the mental health toll of remote learning on kids back in October.

“We have to be careful and acknowledge just how big a change this has been for kids and families,” says Beth Doll, PhD, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “We have taken away the context that supports their engagement in school and their overall well-being, plus they are dealing with the tremendous uncertainty about the future.”

By Heather Stringer, APA

A lot of the problems created or exacerbated by remote learning are hidden by distance and isolation.

Holed up at home, students dwell in the glare of computer screens, missing friends and teachers. Some are failing classes. Some are depressed. Some are part of families reeling with lost jobs, gaps in child care or bills that can’t be paid.

Some students care for, or grieve, relatives with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States.

Mental health problems account for a growing proportion of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From March, when the pandemic was declared, to October, the figure was up 31 percent for those 12 to 17 years old and 24 percent for children ages 5 to 11 compared with the same period in 2019.

By Donna St. George and 
Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

What makes matters worse, reopening the schools carries it’s own risks to mental health.

Early data shows living through a pandemic has increased depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges for people of all ages, particularly in Black and Latino communities, where the coronavirus has disproportionately sickened and killed people.

We should absolutely be prioritizing mental health in our discussions and decisions around COVID-19.

It’s important to remember, though: Kids returning to classrooms while the coronavirus rages are swapping one imperfect solution for another. They’re not walking back into their pre-pandemic school lives.

Teachers, in many cases, are tasked with teaching remote and in-person students simultaneously. Plexiglass and distancing measures necessarily preclude the physical closeness kids used to enjoy with their peers and teachers.


Teachers are stressed mentally and financially by the pandemic. Chicago teachers are prepping form a possible walkout over safety concerns, even as the first vaccinations begin in one of our largest school districts.

Skeptical of CPS’ ability to keep staff members and students safe from COVID-19 infection, the union has asked that educators be allowed to continue remote teaching at least until they receive a first vaccine dose.

Hundreds of teachers who were due back in the first wave of the reopening plan have failed to show up for work for at least one day, and dozens of teachers with repeated absences were locked of their online teaching platforms and had their pay withheld.

But the district has said it intends to stick by its plan to reopen schools to about 70,000 kindergarten through eighth grade students on Feb. 1.

“There is nothing that we want more than to get the shots in the arms of our dedicated staff,” Jackson said Friday. “If we could vaccinate everyone today, we would do it.”


We may be damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Which sucks for a blog that doesn’t believe in damnation. Speaking of which, we got the news this week that one of the pioneers of blogging about the intersection of religion, feminism and parenting, Libby Anne of Love, Joy, Feminism will be hanging up the keyboard once her current review of Debbie Pearl’s The Vision is finished around the end of the month. She’ll have a farewell post on March 1st and then sail off into the digital sunset.

Libby Anne’s work has been inspiring and thoughtful, her insights into the mindset of the Evangelical conservatives and the homeschooling she had been raised in. We raise our glasses to her and her family and wish them the best the future hasn’t to offer.

Dr. Fauci joined some of my favorite YouTubers, The Try Guys, too debunk the biggest myths about the Coronavirus vaccine…

Featured Image: Dr Fauci gets the Coronavirus Vaccine, Shared by the NIH on Flickr with a Creative Commons License

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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