UCP of the North Bay
Cypress School Update
August 28, 2020
Greetings Cypress School Community,
When many of us were training in this field, we were introduced to the parents’ perspective from an essay entitled “Welcome to Holland.” In the essay, Emily Perl Kingsley compares raising a child with special needs to planning a trip to Italy and ending up in Holland. She shares that you must let go of what you expected and embrace where you are. I am reminded of that advice as I reflect on the status of our distance learning and the overall current state of affairs. This pandemic has caused a great deal of suffering. That suffering is not distributed equally. And inequality that already existed, has been laid bare. We are a nation in mourning. Some mourn the loss of loved ones. Death by the virus and death by acts of violence by police and others have led to raw emotion and reopening of wounds as old as this country. Others have lost their livelihoods. And all of us have lost the way of life we once enjoyed. These losses bring out all the stages of grief in us to process.
In her analogy Kinglsey speaks of Italy as the child one expected to have, and the future that might have been.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss. But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.
I don’t know if this experience is synonymous with Holland exactly. Maybe Siberia, or Death Valley. Compared to Cypress in person, distance learning pales in comparison. And compared to what life was like pre-pandemic this can feel like complete and utter misery. But this is where we are now, and we will adapt to make the most of it. We will grieve the year 2020 could have been and end still manage to end it on a positive note.
I could not be prouder of the staff at Cypress making lemonade from the lemon that is distance learning. It is not anywhere near what we do in person. But what we have accomplished is truly remarkable and we continue to adapt it based on the feedback we receive to make it better and better. The talent and tireless dedication of our staff is what gives me hope that we can successfully transition to safely offer in-person opportunities soon.
We have received the long-awaited guidance from the state that allows special education students to return to campus in small groups at up to 25% of the normal capacity. However, cohorts must not exceed 14 students and 2 staff. We will continue to plan for in-person learning and seek clarification on the guidance and will keep you posted on the latest developments. Next Wednesday is our minimum day training from 12-2 so our afternoon zooms will not take place. The training topic will be behavioral supports and Covid-safe procedures for in-person instruction. The next parent meeting will be held Monday September 14th at 2:30. Hope to see you there!
Director of Educational and Behavioral Services