Edgartown: Preparing for school year

— Shelby Regan

This week is officially the week that wasn’t! Normally the biggest week of the summer, the only big thing going on is that we finally got some rain. No Illumination Night, no fair, and no fireworks. And yet still a ton of people here. I have to admit, I’m shocked at how many people have come to the Island this week, even without any big events happening. Between the bad weather and all the people, traffic has been crazy, which I haven’t noticed up until now. I didn’t miss it.

As of now, the plan for school is a slow roll in to a hybrid model. Teachers go back on Sept. 2 for 10 days of professional development, and students remotely on Sept. 17. Full plans will be available to families soon, I’m sure. The professional development is specifically to help with safety and remote learning. Many of us also took part in a great deal of professional development over the summer, all in efforts to make sure our remote learning is rigorous and effective. I know it’s hard. And I know that this situation is not ideal for parents. Nor is it really ideal for others. There is no “ideal” here because everyone has different needs. But please have faith in the school staff. We are not the bad guys here. There are no bad guys here. I know it makes childcare on remote days challenging for working parents. Please remember that there are a lot of school staff members in that same boat — they too are parents with kids who need to be monitored while Mom or Dad is teaching at school. Please remember it is “for now” and hopefully not forever. It is to monitor the COVID-19 numbers after a busy summer. So many schools around the country have opened fully only to close again shortly thereafter. Our numbers are low now. This is an effort to keep them low. Please know that we are all on the same side in this, working together to do the best we can for our kids. And please also remember that your kids are our kids. We will do our best for them.

Happy birthday wishes go out this week to Rebecca Norris on August 17, Jessica Francis and Robin Davies on August 20, my cousin Emma Kelley, Chris Mara, and Kathleen Dougherty on August 21, Shay Sullivan and Melissa Kanavel on August 22.

Edgartown suffered another loss last week with the death of Peter Look. My earliest memories of Mr. Look were the old days at Al’s, when I was young and we’d walk down there from my cousins’ house (where Granite is now) and buy Fresca and Bugles and go back for sleepovers in the Corwins’ shed. I also will forever remember him marching in parades. He is indelibly tied to my memories growing up in Edgartown. My thoughts are with his family.

Vineyard Independence Partnership (VIP) is pleased to present a celebration of Chilmark Chocolates on Saturday, August 22, from 10 am until 1 pm, taking the form of a yard art sale at the former location of the business —19 State Road, Chilmark. Available items will include collectable Chilmark Chocolates T shirts and mugs, along with individual art made by VIP members such as cards, studio art, and woven materials. Please note that chocolate will not be available for purchase. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced. Payment will be accepted in cash, check (made out to Vineyard Independence Partnership) and Venmo. The rain date is August 29. Net proceeds from the sale will benefit the ongoing programming of VIP, a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating community and quality of life for individuals with disabilities on Martha’s Vineyard, along with their family and friends. More information about VIP is viewable at vipmv.org.

I want to remind you to make sure you are registered to vote, and then make sure you VOTE. Regardless of political party, we all need to be part of our democracy for it to be effective. If you are 18 or older, get it done. Mail-in ballots need extra time and extra postage, so make sure you get those mail-in ballots into the mail at least two weeks before the election, and put two stamps on them. Early voting for the Sept. 1 primary begins on August 22, and runs through August 28. August 22 voting is from 2 until 4 pm, August 23 voting is from 10 am until 12 pm, and then the other days are from 8 am until 4 pm. This is a great way to vote and avoid crowds without worrying about the mail. They also have drop boxes available inside and outside the door at the Edgartown Town Hall for your mail-in ballots, if you want to drop them off. Please feel free to contact the town clerk’s office with any questions or concerns at 508-627-6110.

Stay well, my friends. Be kind, and give others the benefit of the doubt when you can. It’s not always easy, but it can bring us peace and serenity that we all need these days. We are all fighting battles that you may not be aware of. Have a great week.

Vote. Did I say that already?

If you have any Edgartown Town Column suggestions, email Gail Gardner, ggardnermv@gmail.com.