4 months later, where are we now?

Dearest client,

It has been way too long since we have seen each other. I thank you for the years of support you have given to me and Stillpoint. I truly enjoy seeing you walk through the door of my office. I am honored to be invited to help you work through both physical and emotional roadblocks in your life.

This pandemic continues to throw huge curve balls for all of us. Whether it be, sitting in the “unknown” of what is next, or worrying about the “unknown” of work & income, or thinking you “know” what the plan is only to have the rug moved from under you again. The only real “knowns” of this time are that change is our constant companion and no one is immune to the waves (or tsunamis) change creates in our lives.

A tan rock with two parallel diagonal lines cutting through it is sitting on a handmade pillow of striped grey fabric. The pillow sits on the green grass in the sun.
A heart shaped rock sitting on a handmade pillow sewn by Aida. I found this treasure while playing with my family at Horseshoe Bend on the Winooski River earlier this month.

With the support of state and federal funds and the closing of my physical office, Stillpoint has stopped hemorrhaging money and will rise again once the spread of the pandemic is under control. I believe that time will be when there is a freely accessible vaccine. In looking forward to how I can be of service prior to life returning to “normal”, I must first look at my family’s needs. Eben, my husband, is returning to full time, in-person work at St. Michael’s College next month. My daughter Aida’s school plan is still in flux.

On Friday, I received an email from our school district superintendent outlining the “plan” for reopening grade schools at the end of August. As parents, we have a choice of educational models for the fall: hybrid (in-person/remote) or 100% remote. Our “plan” is to blend in-person public school with homeschooling. Aida will attend Underhill Central School two days a week. I will homeschool her the other three days. Reading the email, I felt the rug settling. I felt the exhale of a breath I had not yet realized I was holding. I thought, “Okay. I can do this.”

This morning, I read an open letter from the superintendent of a different school district in Vermont. He shared many concerns about reopening schools at the end of August. He expressed a very real concern about the ability to staff schools at the level that is necessary to properly do in-person and remote teaching for all grade levels. The timing and structure of the plan appear solid. The human element is the point of fragility. There is no wiggle room for the unexpected events of life and no sustainability for all involved. Everyone wants children back in school safely engaging with their teachers and peers for the entire school year. But, the “what ifs” are quite overwhelming at this point.

When I initially wrote this letter to you last Saturday, I expected to let you know that distance/telehealth sessions with me would likely be available one day a week starting in the Fall. I continue to be hopeful that this timeline can be a reality. As with all we have learned in the last four months, this too may change.

In the meantime, I invite you to join me in the following. First, join me in consciously moving forward in hope and flexibility. Take note of the positive moments of each day (a humming bird at your feeder, the sun, a funny joke, a smile possibly from behind a mask). Let that experience settle into the cells of your body. Doing this daily will fill your emotional reservoir. Then, when a curveball comes your way, feel it, dodge it, grieve it. And dip into your reservoir of support in order to refill your container. Secondly, reach out to me via email, phone, or text. Connecting with others is of the utmost importance to us all. I want to know how you are doing.

Reach out to me via email, phone, or text. Connecting with others is of the utmost importance to us all. I want to know how you are doing.

Take care & stay safe,

Chris

P.S. If you are interested in knowing more about what Vermont school districts are planning for reopening and the hurdles that they continue to face, I have included several links below.

MMUUSD District Happenings 3rd Edition

An open letter to the HUUSD community from Superintendent Nease

Back to school in a pandemic: What Vermont students and families can expect

New England and Vermont puzzle how to reopen school amid the pandemic

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