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Who’s ready to send our cutest carriers indoors?

What concerns me about sending children back to schools is that I've met children.

Signs remind students to social distance at the entrance to the cafeteria line during a media tour of the Norris Middle School in Omaha to show how authorities are preparing for the return of students to school in the time of Covid-19.
Signs remind students to social distance at the entrance to the cafeteria line during a media tour of the Norris Middle School in Omaha to show how authorities are preparing for the return of students to school in the time of Covid-19.Nati Harnik/Associated Press

I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert on the ways that air particles move indoors versus outdoors. And I’ve never been in a school that didn’t have a world-class HVAC system. But I still have just a few wee concerns as we consider whether to send our cutest carriers back into those enclosed spaces we call classrooms.

Just a few things I need to work out because it seems like this coronavirus thingy has done alright for itself without the benefit of having millions of children in close indoor proximity arguing over who has better-tasting boogers.

On the one hand, I would love for my children to be able to go back to school and be with their friends and get more than 6 feet away from me. On the other hand, they’re not very good at staying 6 feet away from anyone. This is especially true if that person is their height, as they seem to prefer to speak with their faces 1 inch apart.

On the one hand, I trust that schools will do their best to demarcate space to keep children at a safe social distance. On the other hand, I don’t trust children or viruses to stop when they encounter a line on the floor made of masking tape. I would only trust it if it were duct tape.

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On the one hand, I would love to get my kids out of the house so I can have a private conversation with my wife without having to go outside like the place is bugged by the FBI. On the other hand, I recently watched my 7-year-old take off his mask so his friend could try it on. Sharing is caring.

On the one hand, my children hate Zoom but at least it gives me a break from having someone ask me to watch them ride a skateboard down the stairs. On the other hand, I don’t want them staring at a machine all day. That’s for adults.

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On the one hand, we could sidestep this whole dilemma and just homeschool our kids. On the other hand, then we would have to homeschool our kids. We don’t have the patience or the corduroy wardrobe.

On the one hand, the President of the United States says it’s a good idea. On the other hand, the President of the United States says it’s a good idea.

On the one hand, working parents are going to continue to be put into a tight squeeze if the children stay home. On the other hand, “I have to keep my children from setting the house on fire” has been a great excuse to use on my editors to explain my mediocre work of late. Family first.

On the one hand, my kids are still young and surely our more mature high schoolers and college kids can be trusted to keep a safe distance and not touch each other. On the other hand ... I don’t even have a joke here.

On the one hand, every school reopening plan I’ve seen sounds like something out of a dystopian novel. On the other hand, why stop now, world? Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next. What’s that you say? A contested election?

On the one hand, I believe with all my heart that we will find a vaccine. On the other hand, I believe with all my heart that I will win Powerball. But since I don’t know exactly when, I have no choice but to keep going about my life.

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It is not an easy decision, and I think about it every time I see one of my beautiful children wipe snot on the wall. Or when I look at the calendar. Or when I read the news.

I’m sure the answer will come to me. In the meantime, I’m going to open a window.


Billy Baker can be reached at billy.baker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @billy_baker.