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Washington schools should reopen because my neighbors’ kids are loud

(File, Associated Press)

With Washington schools closed as a result of coronavirus, this has certainly been the longest and weirdest snow day for kids in recent memory. Studies show that students need the structured environment of a classroom, social interaction with friends, and in-person learning with teachers.

But I don’t actually care about the kids’ education, I’m just tired of hearing them screaming all day next door. Here’s what appears to be the schedule for my neighbor’s children:

8:30 a.m. : Jumping and screaming on trampoline
9:30 a.m. : Brother and sister yelling at each other
10:30 a.m. : More jumping and screaming on trampoline
11:30 a.m. : Boy hitting a rock with a stick
12:30 p.m. : Exasperated mother yelling at kids to stop fighting

Last year before coronavirus hit I complained that kids need later school start times, because I was tired of the screaming kids at the school nearby waking me up early every morning. With the school now closed and quiet, I’ve been forced to rethink my whining.

Washington schools need later start times, since they keep waking me up

You see, pre-coronavirus there were hundreds of kids yelling and screaming all day a couple blocks away, and now there are two children making the same racket all day 20 feet from me. I’m not sure which is worse. But at the moment I strongly feel that these kids need to go back to school, for the sake of their education or something.

Perhaps you think I’m being needlessly selfish during what are clearly difficult times. Of course I am. Consider this though: the boy next door has the exact same voice as the red-headed bully in the movie A Christmas Story. Remember that kid? Imagine living next to that. Imagine that movie without the bully ever getting his comeuppance, and jumping on a trampoline all day a few feet away from you.

Many parents may find this sentiment abhorrent, and yet I know there are others who are absolutely tired of having their kids around 24/7. It’s okay to admit it. Part of the reason society has schools and babysitters and playgrounds is just so parents can get away from their children. One mother even confessed to me half-jokingly: “I don’t like my kids anymore.”

The interplay between mask etiquette and mask fatigue

The concern over coronavirus in schools is certainly serious, and I don’t want kids to risk their health or anybody else’s simply because I have terrible single-panel windows. But even that much revered Dr. Anthony Fauci believes it’s time to consider reopening schools, noting that kids often have mild to no symptoms if infected (though we have to worry about them infecting parents too). Perhaps we could have some sort of phased reopening, starting with my neighborhood.

There’s little more important than America’s youth getting a good education. So please, won’t somebody think of the children? I know they’re our future, but if that future could take place a little farther away from me, that’d be great.

On Twitter @chasongordon

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