In a “normal world”, an elementary school administrator planning for a celebratory Field Day for the end of school would have backup plans for rain (let’s say), or an outbreak of COVID, or continued systemic budget cuts that impact the number of available kickballs. But the bar for normal has once again fallen, and our proverbial administrator is left wondering why she didn’t take into consideration that Canada might be on fire.
But the email came in this morning that Canada was on fire after all, and that it was so on fire that New York itself seemed like it was actually on fire, and so there would be no field day—no takeover of the local park, no dirty shoes, no kickballs (budget shortfalls or not). The kids would still dress in their class colors (blue for first grade!) and maybe watch a movie, but they would stay indoors with the windows firmly shut, because this was the kind of smoke that was deeply unhealthy for everybody—but especially for kids with respiratory disorders, which are disproportionately present in communities under the poverty line, which—in turn—represents half the population of this hypothetical administrator’s school.
And so the kids would spend the day indoors, watching a movie and coming up with games to play. The parents would show up at 2:40 under a burnt orange sky to scoop their masked children up and ferry them home and into their sealed-up living rooms and ask them how their day was, knowing full well that it was not as good a day as their kids had hoped for.
But the kids are okay. Again. They’re okay.