Choose Your Own Adventure: K-12 Back to School, Pandemic Edition

Chapter 1: 

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Superintendent Withers here. We’re delighted to inform you that we won’t impinge on your freedoms by setting up a safe and unified K-12 education plan this Fall. We’re going to let you figure it out. This worked really well for COVID19 testing and distancing measures, so we’re rolling with it.

However, we do need to know what you’re going to do with your new-found power. Please fill out this survey so we can prepare for the coming school year. 

Are you sending your child to in-person school this fall? Y/N ______


Superintendent Withers


If you answer no, skip to Chapter 4. If you answer yes: Are you sure that’s a good idea? We don’t mean to judge you or anything, but have you been paying attention to the news? Even COVID is getting COVID. Whatever. Your choice. Go to Chapter 2.


Chapter 2: You choose to send your kid(s) to school.

You send your child to school with hand sanitizer and a mask. In late September, Cecilia, the school secretary, tests positive for COVID. Principal Matthews makes in-person school voluntary, which means you get to make the same super fun decision about earning a living or keeping your kids out of the public school germ-factory for a SECOND TIME in two months, yay! 

Do you keep your kids in school?

If you choose yes, go to Chapter 3. If you choose no, go to Chapter 4.


Chapter 3: You keep your children in school

You’re probably an essential worker with no affordable childcare options. Your local politician will help you out by getting an intern to bang pots for you at 7 pm. Since this is more recognition than we’ve ever given people in your socio-economic demographic, we know you’re thrilled. You’re welcome. 

The End.


Chapter 4: You choose online school. 

Lord help you, because we won’t. Seriously though, we completely support your decision to stunt your child’s social and emotional development! 

Do you quit your job to educate your children? 

If you choose yes, continue to Chapter 5. If you choose no, go to Chapter 6.


Chapter 5: You quit your job to teach your kids.

We have no idea why we’re even talking to you. Forget your own ambitions, forget saving for retirement, and become your child’s teacher. Embrace your life as a parent of leisure. 

The End 


Chapter 6: You choose to work and teach at the same time. 

Wow really? Didn’t you learn how well that works out from the last time? Don’t expect us to pull your biscuits out of the fire when you have a hard time juggling work and child education. It’s not the government’s job to put an infrastructure in place to solve the problems of its people. You should have thought about that before having school-aged kids in a pandemic. 

You announce on Facebook that you’re going to opt-out of the brick and mortar school experience. An acquaintance named Jamie sees your post and asks if you want to join a pod of parents who will hire a private tutor and social distance together. You don’t know Jamie very well. 

What do you say?

If you choose no, go to Chapter 7. If you choose yes, go to Chapter 8.


Chapter 7: You don’t join a pod.

You put your child in the dumpster fire that is public school online education and work remotely. In October you decide ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ is educational. In November, you take up meth. In December, COVID rises a third time and all children switch to online school. You trade in your work-appropriate shirts for tattered black leather because baby, the inside of your home it’s Thunderdome. 

The End


Chapter 8: You pod up.

After a two week isolation period, you join Jaime and the others for a small dinner. The group is almost all white. You hire a teacher of color to compensate for the lack of diversity. While the rest of the parenting world enters its dystopian phase, your pod and others like it ride out the pandemic in a guilt-induced CBD haze. “Pod schools” gain the same rights–and funding–as Charter schools. You recreate the private school system. You become a feudal lord. The private tutor, local delivery person, and grocery store employee are now your vassals. 

Democracy and government as we know it breaks down. But there is a peaceful regime change. After all, there’s nothing this country likes better than people who can buy their way out of trouble.

The End

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