For the second time in two months, we are in quarantine. Thus far, we are well, and that’s something to be happy about, but it’s feeling a bit much at the moment. School hasn’t even started yet, and I’ll be taking yet another bout of leave (which isn’t leave — no one does my job when I’m away) for isolation requirements that feel unreasonable in the face of community spread that simply can’t be stopped.
And I’m not the only one. All the parents I know are either sick, in quarantine, or waiting for their turn. Welcome to 2022.
It’s funny, I’m an essential worker, so I’m allowed to go to work even if I’m a close contact. This is supposed to keep society going, and allows VCs and others to cheerfully declare that this is the semester we will return to in-person class, but everyone — National Cabinet included — has once again forgotten about the parents. I may be an essential worker, but I cannot go to work and teach (in person or otherwise) if I can’t put one or both of my kids in care. If you think otherwise, you clearly do not have much experience with small children — or have perhaps have very unusual kids.
If I do put my kids in care, they are highly likely to get exposed to covid and end up in quarantine (and/or sick), and then be excluded from care for 14 days. Not just once, but every time one of their classmates tests positive. Multiply that by number of classmates, and that’s a whole lot of risk, which vaccines and even prior infection do not change. Oh, and the best part? I still have to pay for that care, while figuring out whether and how to cover the missed time at work.
I don’t see any end to this, unless we as a society decide to simply stop quarantining when asymptomatic. Which sounds crazy, except, maybe it’s not.
Until that happens, well, parents are f*cked. Who exactly is going to do the work?