Edgartown: School shuffling

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— Shelby Regan

How about this summer in November? I know in my heart that the fact that it is 70 degrees in November means bad things environmentally, but it sure does fill my heart and soul with joy. Beautiful walks on the beach with the dog and a quick swim on Sunday made me one happy girl. And I was not alone. I saw lots of people on the beach either having just been in the water or about to go in, and I saw a lot of pictures on social media showing that many others had the same idea on this amazing day.

Of course the big news is that we have a new President-Elect, with Joseph Biden unofficially being declared with Kamala Harris as the Vice President-Elect. She is also noted as being the first woman of color to be elected to the high offices of our country, which sparked some debate on Facebook this weekend. On one post, a gentleman asked why people noted that she is a person of color, stating that we are maybe supposed to ignore that. I noted that by that standard, we also shouldn’t be noting that she was a woman. But I think it’s different when we are celebrating milestones and barrier-breaking events like “firsts” for things. I’ve also learned in some of my studies that solving racism isn’t so much about ignoring differences in skin color or religions, etc., but rather about seeing them, understanding that these differences have brought us all different experiences, and still embracing each other as equals. At any rate, I love that there will be a woman in the White House and that the glass ceiling has a few more cracks in it. I also appreciate that we won’t be seeing any more political ads for a while. Has anyone ever made up their minds about voting based on a TV ad? I don’t think so.

Record numbers turned out on the Island and across the country to vote this year. And by turned out, I mean mail-in votes as well. More than 60 percent of eligible voters voted on the island and roughly 67 percent of eligible voters turned out nationally. While these numbers are very high for our country, they are still low compared to worldwide standards. We really need to figure out a way to get all eligible voters to vote. It’s truly the best way to get a representative government. Great job to everyone who made it a point to vote, especially during the pandemic.

One tradition continues at the Edgartown School this week. School photos are happening on Thursday, Nov. 12, for grades K-4, and on Friday, Nov. 13, for grades 5 to 8. All students get their picture taken during this event, even if families choose not to order any pictures, as they are used in the yearbook. Order forms went home with your student already so if you haven’t seen it, you might want to ask them about it.

Happy birthday wishes go out to Doug Cooper on Nov. 8, Patti Culkins Ulyatt on Nov. 9, Deneen Convery on Nov. 11, and Tom O’Brien and Meaghan Morris on Nov. 14.

The Red Stocking Fund is now accepting applications if you find that you are in need of some help with your holiday expenses this year. To ensure safety, all applications must be submitted online this year. Applications may be found on their website at theredstockingfund.org and must be submitted by Nov. 20. Please call Sandy Joyce at 508-776-0801 or Susie Wallo at 508-776-6050 with any questions.

We welcomed the 5th and 6th grades back in the building on Tuesday and the 7th and 8th grades will be starting back next Tuesday, Nov. 17. These kids will be remote on Mondays and in school on Tuesdays through Fridays. Our poor new assistant principal MaryAnn Bartlett has been creating and recreating schedules as we try to juggle kids, staff, and rooms while keeping to small cohorts. For details about opening, families can check their emails and the school website at edgartownschool.org.

Other big news here, of course, is that our COVID numbers are on the rise, quite quickly in my opinion. With an older father and mother-in-law, health problems of my own, and just the unknowns of COVID, I’m not going to lie. It makes me very nervous. I had loosened up a bit, eating at a couple of restaurants, either outside or very socially distanced. But I am becoming more of a homebody again. I’ll continue to support local businesses with takeout and encourage everyone to do the same if they can. Or I’ll continue to eat anywhere that I can be outside as long as we have nice enough weather. But for the most part I’m going to go to work, go shopping as needed, and go home.

Governor Baker has put in stricter guidelines as of last Friday as well. Restaurants need to close to in-person dining by 9:30 pm. We are to wear masks inside or out, regardless of distance. And there is now a 10 pm curfew as well, hoping to curtail parties and such I’d imagine. To be completely selfish, there is a good chance that my son Riley will be able to come home on leave for Christmas and I’ve not seen him since March. So please, wear your masks, keep your distance, wash your hands, and let’s try to knock this little spell of higher numbers back to zero.

Did you feel the earthquake this weekend? What else can the year 2020 throw our way. I didn’t feel it, though the dog barked quite a bit so he seemed to know something was up. The earthquake was about a 3.6 on the Richter Scale. It certainly caught people’s attention, based on Facebook posts. What’s next? Here’s hoping 2021 is a little less interesting than 2020 has been.

I think that’s about it for this week. Stay safe. Wash hands. Wear masks. And be kind. Have a great week.

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