With the relaxation on the way, Lucie van Roosmalen (6) had to quarantine for another week because of a positive tested teacher. It was the final blow after an extended Christmas vacation and ten days of family quarantine. The school wanted to enforce the rules until the expiration date.
The parents stood in a circle in the school yard at an agreed time, resignedly waiting for another teacher to hand out bags of homework. We were supposed to take over the role of teacher at home.
We just arranged it.
At exactly ten o’clock we reported from behind the computer at the kitchen table to the digital lesson of a well-fit teacher, who was not in quarantine herself for mysterious reasons. It took her over half an hour to welcome all the preschoolers and their caregivers.
She kept saying who saw them all in the picture.
She also said who she didn’t see.
And whose microphone didn’t work.
Lucie van Roosmalen mainly wanted to talk to her friends, but that was not possible. She just waved in thin air. The fit teacher discussed the amount of homework, then all the children took turns saying how they felt.
No one had any complaints.
One girl had a brother with chickenpox.
And so we meandered through the great nothing.
Suddenly Lucie van Roosmalen got a turn. She decided to fill the time by turning her nose up. The teacher asked if she was sometimes snotty. “Yes”, said Lucie van Roosmalen, “I sometimes feel snotty.” “And that’s why we’re all at home,” said the teacher. “That’s how it starts, those are the first symptoms.”
Lucie van Roosmalen gave me a shiny look, proud of all the attention.
The fit teacher expressly wished her a speedy recovery, my daughter was raised to the example of the usefulness and necessity of the measures taken.
I wanted to take over the conversation, say she doesn’t have a snot at all, that it was all acted up, but our microphone was already cut off.
Then the teacher began to read an entire book in gnawing Zaans. We turned off the sound and waved to classmates for another ten minutes.
Then we sat at the table in silence for ten minutes. When the futility of everything had descended, we went to the greengrocer, where they met no less than two classmates who are also officially in quarantine.
They did who could cough the best.
Marcel van Roosmalen writes an exchange column with Ellen Deckwitz here.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of January 26, 2022