Eradicating the masks could also be simply the tip of the iceberg in the case of caving to extremists, and that scares me probably the most—much more than COVID-19.
This morning I walked my first grader to highschool and watched as they took off their toque on the door, slipped the loops of their masks over their little ears, and disappeared into the college.
However beginning Monday, youngsters in Alberta gained’t should put on masks in colleges, not even the flimsy, paper-thin ones not too long ago offered by the province. I by no means anticipated this disappointing authorities to pony up N95s for our kids, however I additionally didn’t anticipate it to only discontinue COVID precautions at a time when paediatric hospitalizations proceed to climb.
Within the span of 30 days, the Alberta authorities went from promising free masks for varsity kids to telling youngsters that masks are pointless. Throughout that very same time interval, paediatric hospitalizations elevated.
The truth of the COVID disaster didn’t change during the last month, however the denials of actuality bought louder and extra excessive.
Whereas my six-year-old was getting their second vaccination, adults had been throwing a tantrum on the Coutts border crossing. Whereas my six-year-old was lacking out on birthday events, extremists had been partying in Ottawa. Whereas my six-year-old was reading in their classroom (which I’ve by no means been allowed to go to, attributable to COVID), protesters entered one other faculty, yelling about masks and freedom till RCMP officers eliminated them.
As tensions rose, Alberta’s training minister, Adriana LaGrange, got here out of hiding lengthy sufficient to tweet that “colleges usually are not an applicable place to protest public well being measures,” however inside days of that tweet, protesters bought what they needed. The training minister barred faculty divisions from imposing their very own masks mandates.
At the same time as paediatric hospitalizations proceed to climb in Alberta, whilst our emergency departments are stretched far past capability, Alberta’s authorities is giving in to individuals as a result of they’re loud and scary.
This terrifies me. What is going to these teams, this melting pot of white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, QAnon believers and so-called “working-class Canadians” demand subsequent?
As a father or mother, I do know that giving in to tantrums or threats teaches kids that hurting others is an effective way to get what they need. On the floor, it looks like the United Conservative authorities doesn’t perceive that rewarding dangerous behaviour will solely encourage extra dangerous behaviour, however I feel they do know that and a few of them would like to see extra disruptive calls for for energy.
Jason Kenney has misplaced management of his caucus. He’s sat by whereas a few of his MLAs have flaunted well being measures and supported protests aligned with alt-right, white supremacist ideologies, protests that we all know wouldn’t be tolerated if the faces behind the steering wheels weren’t white.
The teams protesting at colleges, at Coutts and in Ottawa don’t simply need COVID security stopped. They need management. And so they’re getting it.
Don’t speak to me about freedom whereas taking my little one’s away
Eradicating the masks could also be simply the tip of the iceberg in the case of caving to extremists, and that scares me probably the most—greater than COVID, even, if I’m being sincere.
I truly assume the possibilities of my little one contracting COVID are low. At six years outdated, my kiddo has a fairly good immune system and is sufficiently old to be double vaccinated. Most of their closest buddies are additionally double vaccinated. I can’t know what number of of their classmates are, although, and that retains me up at evening.
So does worrying about my nephew (who remains to be too younger to be vaccinated), our older, immunocompromised family members, and those with disabilities. What if my little one goes to highschool unmasked, and comes dwelling with COVID? What if we give it to somebody and so they die? We’ve solely not too long ago began seeing individuals and doing issues once more, and now we’ve to decide on between faculty and our family members—once more.
My little one has given up a lot over the course of this pandemic. They’ve began doing this factor the place they discuss with pre-pandemic life as “my childhood.”
They’ll level out the automobile window and say, “that’s the constructing the place I performed soccer in my childhood!” or (the extra heartbreaking) “Mother, I miss my childhood.”
“Sure, however you’re six,” I inform them. “You’re nonetheless experiencing your childhood,” I say earlier than my eyes nicely up an excessive amount of to maintain wanting within the rearview mirror.
We gave up a lot when others wouldn’t. I’m terrified that they’re going to take faculty from us, too.
Studying to reside with COVID
In Premier Kenney’s personal phrases, “now could be the time to start studying to live with COVID.” However the factor is, we had been already studying to reside with it, lastly, as a result of we had been in a position to defend ourselves by issues like masks mandates and the proof-of-vaccine program that ended this week.
Due to that program, I not too long ago began taking my little one again to the indoor swimming pool for the primary time in years, comforted by the data that adults within the pool had both introduced proof of vaccination or proof of a destructive take a look at on the door. Can we threat swimming, now that it’s a free-for-all? How do I inform my little one that their freedom, their security, their probability to renew childhood, was taken away as a result of some grownups honked their horns so much?
Do I ship my little one to highschool on Monday? I don’t know. I simply know that I’m scared.