Upper Valley Haven Afterschool Program
On the last day of school before the shutdowns, in light rain, I waited for one of the After-School children outside of the cafeteria/gymnasium. I was six feet away from parents waiting for their own children.
The child came out and we got in the van to go to the last day of After-School program for at least a couple weeks, we didn't know it would be longer. As we were getting settled, someone from the school came over and asked if the child had their tablet. The one for home-schooling. He did not. So, we left the van and got in a line of at least twenty families.
The school had a system where only one family was let in at a time, and they got the items they needed in a bag of some kind. We waited. The child called out people's names and waved. It was exciting and different. When it came time for the two of us to enter, I was handed a clipboard to sign. As I signed my name where a Parent/Guardian would sign, I knew I had stepped into another world. This expensive device was signed in my name to go with this child and his parents. I was the one with him, so I was the one who signed. There was no alternative. I know had a paper trail in this child's life that was disconnected to the after-school program in a way that felt alien.
The child gathered their new school supplies and we went to the after-school program. One by one the kids were picked up and the staff waved, not knowing the next time we would see that kid again. It was a growing depression.
The child whom I picked up that day was one of the last to leave. His parents came in and I informed them that I signed my name for the computer tablet, and jokes were made about the parents' lack of responsibility. While these jokes were made the child absentmindedly placed the tablet underneath my raised foot as he stuffed his backpack with his belongings. I lowered my foot, and thankfully pulled away before I did any damage. More jokes, then goodbye.