In this July 29, 2021, file photo, science teacher Arik Jepson shows a tour group how the touch-screen board at the front of the classroom doubles as a computer and a digital whiteboard. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

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The past two years have given people an opportunity to really use their knowledge of science and math. We need to understand the basics of vaccines, viruses, antibiotics, antigen and PCR testing and disease transmission. Even evolution, as viruses keep mutating and creating new strains. The math we need is in statistics and probability — vaccination rates, probability of illness and modeling. All are real applications of those things people were supposed to learn in schools.

Who tried to teach us all that? Oh, yeah, teachers. Just imagine what teachers must be going through as they create learning scenarios for remote, hybrid and face-to-face learning scenarios. Kids may be not learning how and what they used to learn, but they are learning a lot more in different ways: real life science and math, problem solving, technology, remote group work, individual goal setting and even negotiating work (school) schedules with others in their household.

So, thank you to teachers (and support staff, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, administrators and all the people who make education work). Thank you to the kids for hanging in there, trying new things, making progress under difficult conditions. Thank you to parents — this is not how any of us envisioned it. And thank you to community members for supporting our schools.

Oh, that is another science concept — adaptation. We all are adapting to the reality we are given. Let’s keep making it work as well as we can and learning valuable lessons at the same time.

Tom Keller