August 19 Day 529: It’s the Uncertainty

Tis the season of ‘Back-to-School’ and in many ways this year feels WORSE than last. Back then, there was hope. People were planning in advance for their teaching and professional events. There was a shared sense of resilience, growth, and service in continued isolation. And vaccine trials were entering Phase III with a short horizon to potential distribution.

Well, 529 days into this pandemic, my hope is evaporating. Mask mandates are back (at least in Washington State). I’m watching parents across the country sending school age children back to classrooms with real trepidation. Some colleges and universities have paused face-to-face instruction and declared 2-3 weeks online immediately. NCTM announced the cancellation of it’s national meeting.

I can’t help but wonder what’s next? And the media keeps hyping the fear factor because it sells.

I don’t want to plan because I can’t be sure things won’t change again. I’m trying to remember the advice that I wrote on Day 336: you are not alone, it’s OK to not be OK, we are still making it up as we go along, and your efforts are appreciated. It helps. I thought we were approaching the end of this COVID ordeal. Maybe we are. Vaccines work and they should be available for children under 12 by midwinter. But right now, the conflict feels endless.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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