Edgartown: Starting a new school year

— Shelby Regan

I am not going to lie. It’s Sunday night. I have two days of summer left before I head back into school on Wednesday, and I am nervous. Like many teachers, I’m nervous every September. But this one is, of course, a little different, given COVID-19 concerns and the fact that we’ve been out of the building for the better part of six months. Needless to say, I’m doing a lot of thinking about it these days.

I’ve seen many posts on social media over the past week or two of kids heading off to college. Again, like with our local schools, it’s kind of a weird year. Some schools are open, some are not, some kids have left or are leaving, while others are staying here, at least for awhile. To all those kids heading out, good luck. I wish you all an uneventful year. And to you moms and dads who are letting your kids go, some for the first time, you’ve got this. It’s so hard to let them go. But you’ve been training and prepping for this since you first became a parent. I wish you and yours all the best.

Happy birthday wishes go out this week to Kalob Shipton, Eric Hatt, and Alison Enos on Sept. 4, Linda Hathaway and Kathy Davis Pogue on Sept. 5, and Sarah Parece on Sept. 6.

The current plan for the Edgartown School opening is as follows: Teachers and staff all go back for professional development on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Students start back remotely on Thursday, Sept. 17. This is also when “Cohort C” — the high needs and pre-K children start back to in-person school. On Tuesday, Sept. 29, Grades K and 1 return to in-person school four days a week; on Tuesday, Oct. 13, grades 2 and 3 return to in-person school four days a week, on Oct. 27, grade 4 returns to in-person school four days a week, and on Oct. 30, grades 5 through 8 will begin one-day-a-week in person and four days remote. Got that? Phew. It’s a lot.

The biggest thing to remember is that the kids will all take their cues from the adults. This will not be easy, and it will not be “normal.” Nothing in life right now is either of those things. But if we work together, we can make this a great experience for everyone. Will it be perfect? No. But if we are learning anything from 2020, it’s that we all need to be flexible and roll with the punches. As the saying goes, the green reed, which bends in the wind, is stronger than the mighty oak, which breaks in a storm.

Our little Island has lost a lot of amazing people in the past few weeks. Peter Look, Dennis daRosa, Shirley Mayhew, Mary Jane Carpenter, and recently, Bob Dutton. This is one of the things that makes it so difficult to live as an adult in the same place you grew up. The ties to each other in our Island hamlet are lifesaving and soul-feeding, and yet, those same ties cut deep with each passing of the “old guard,” our friends and our mentors.

The Edgartown Firemen’s Association will have its annual scholarship golf tournament on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Edgartown Golf Club. Below is a link to the registration form, with information on how to sign up for the tournament. Due to COVID-19, rules and restrictions for the tournament have been listed in the registration form. Last year they were able to give three $5,000 scholarships. With your help, they are hoping to achieve this goal again. Visit bit.ly/2YOvnTB.

Here’s a way to add some cheer to your day: Pick your own sunflowers at the FARM Institute Please choose from a half-hour time slot, one group allowed per time for social distancing measures; $10 admission includes a dozen sunflowers, additional flowers can be purchased on site for $1 a stem. Preregistration is required, no walk-ins will be allowed.

Preregister here: bit.ly/3bedQcm.

I really try not to get too political in this column. Everyone has different lives and different experiences and different beliefs, and I try to be respectful of that here. But I feel like I need to comment on the BLM protest at Five Corners this weekend. I completely support the BLM movement. And I support and have attended protests against police corruption and violence. At the same time, I know and love a lot of good police officers. I am never one to stand up on a soapbox and say I have a solution. But I know that we all have to be ready to come to the table together to move forward. And I know that is easier to say here on M.V. and in liberal Massachusetts than it is in some other states, perhaps. But my support of any protest stops short of blocking traffic, particularly at a major intersection like Five Corners. I know that protesters have defended their actions with arguments that traffic is often backed up there in the summer, and that the ambulance that had to take the long way to the hospital wasn’t on a life-threatening call. But I don’t feel the answer lies in putting others at risk, or in making people miss boats that are already too hard to book. I think such actions alienate people who are otherwise supportive. Jeopardizing the well-being of others to protest jeopardizing others’ well-being seems like an oxymoron to me.

Have a great week. Teachers, welcome back to school. We’ve got this. One way or another, we’ve got this. Be well. And be kind. Welcome, Labor Day Weekend.

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