I’ve never been more ready for a school break than I am right now!

“How would you summarize 2020—the most infuriating, frightening, depressing year in recent memory—if you had only six words to do it?” So reads a recent article in EducationWeek, along with the results of such a challenge. Responses range from the lists of words, such as “challenging, resilience, experimentation, learning, grace, community,” to statements like “I can’t hear you. You’re muted!” This pandemic has certainly tested our resiliency and challenged us in ways we never expected to be challenged. At the end of the day, we have had no choice but to fight with all our strength to meet these challenges, buoyed by the hope that things will get better. I know they will.

The recent passing of the winter solstice on Monday marked the darkest day of 2020. Every day for the next six months we will have more daylight than the day before. I hope this is an apt metaphor for our struggle with COVID-19. Recent news of the approval of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines fills me with hope that with the increasing daylight will come slow and steady progress in our battle against the virus. I know it will.

In other positive news, over the weekend the logjam in Congress over an economic relief bill was finally broken. The $900 billion bill, which passed overwhelmingly on Monday, includes $82 billion for education, $5.8 billion of which is earmarked for New York. Although the politics are still playing out, it seems far more likely than it did a month ago that economic relief will be on the way to the states. While it is true that far more relief is needed in New York than the bill provides, there is room for hope that further relief can be negotiated in the not-so-distant future.  

As I walked down the hall last week I was asked whether I believed we would be able to return to in-person learning after the break. The answer is that I fully expect to be back in the buildings on January 4th. In the meantime, I intend to cherish every moment spent with those I love this holiday season. Though our gatherings will be a little smaller and quieter, there is still so much worth celebrating!

I send you warmest wishes for this holiday season. Stay safe, and most of all, Happy New Year!

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