One of my homeroom students started in person today. Because he was a few weeks behind the kids who had attended already, his mom contacted me yesterday to go over the routine and also to report that he was a little nervous. Understandably so! Our sixth graders have never even been in the building: they have no frame of reference for even the most explicit directions.
"No worries," I told her, "I'll head down to the gym in the morning and bring him upstairs to show him around."
It was a good plan until I entered the cavernous field house attached to our school. A couple hundred or so masked kids sat on the cross points of a six-foot grid. Many had their hoods up; most were looking straight down at their devices. I scanned the group and considered my options. Short of shouting his name, all I could do was walk up and down the rows peering intently at every student. When at last I was saved by the bell, a figure just ahead of me stood up. "Here I am!" he said cheerfully.
"You are so tall!" I told him. "The camera doesn't show that!"
Later in the day, I found out that yet another of my homeroom kids would be starting tomorrow. "Where do I go?" she asked anxiously.
"I'll come downstairs to find you," I promised, but then looked at the guy I had fetched this morning. "But if you see me before I see you? You better wave!"