EDITORIAL: The business of getting back to business

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Your business has been closed. You’re itching to get the doors open again and back to business, and while the state pushes you to open, it also provides you a laundry list of new requirements to do so.

You have eight locations to manage, more than 750 employees, and thousands of customers to contend with.

Your product, marketed and sold essentially the same way for decades, requires new packaging and your logistics have had to be totally revamped. Everything about your business has changed since COVID-19 reared its ugly head – except the expectation of your customers.

Are you ready to get back to work?

This is exactly what the “business” of educating our children has been dealing with for months as Liberty Hill ISD prepares to open the doors in two weeks to some students while pledging to provide the same level of quality to others who choose to learn from home.

Can you say your business would be ready for the same?

No one knows what the first months of school will bring, and the leadership in Liberty Hill ISD has been forced by the State of Texas to make a decision many of us would just choose not to make. There’s been no complaining, no excuses, no lowering of expectations, though. No, Liberty Hill ISD has essentially remade itself in one summer. The usual summer work was there – the hiring, budgeting, maintenance and such – and making sure the final touches were complete on a brand new school. Yeah, remember that Santa Rita Elementary opens this month?

But in addition to the standard summer checklist, LHISD has had to figure out how to manage social distancing, keep masks on kids and employees, manage numbers on buses, feed students safely, handle confirmed COVID cases, teach from a remote location, and generally learn to turn on a dime because the promise of the unknown is the only sure thing we can count on heading into this school year.

Liberty Hill ISD is a cumbersome army division that has to operate, move and react like a special operations team.

We should all be grateful for the countless meetings and planning sessions that led to all the answers we have in our hands today about school this year.

We should applaud the district for feeding us answers faster than we can come up with questions, even if those answers change regularly under the unpredictable circumstances of state guidelines and a still little-understood virus.

But most important is how we show that gratitude. A note to a teacher or a friendly social media post can be great, but what they really need is our buy-in and support.

The school district’s plan to reopen Liberty Hill schools is only as good as our adherence to it. If we don’t take precautions seriously away from school then it will be impossible to keep the schools safe. If we don’t pay close attention and meet teachers halfway to make the new ways work smoothly, then they won’t.

So far, the leadership and staff in LHISD has done most of the heavy lifting, but when we send our children back to school – into the classroom or through a login and password – that weight will increase dramatically and we will need to bear some of it to get us all to the finish line this time.

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