TLO Back to School Survival Guide: COVID-19 Edition!

Is it just me, or does it feel like March 135th, 2020? Sheltering-in-place and working from home has definitely messed with my sense of time, which is why it’s hard to believe that school is starting soon for Oklahoma students, teachers and viruses!

Because starting a new school year is already nerve-racking enough without the backdrop of a global pandemic, we at TLO wanted to pass on a little wisdom to Oklahoma kids to help them navigate the Fall semester.

Here’s the official TLO Back to School Survival Guide: COVID-19 Edition!

Schedule Nap Time During Science Class

Because school has been out since mid-March, a lot of kids in Oklahoma have been without a set schedule for months. While you’re getting used to waking up before 1 p.m., I recommend scheduling a daily nap. The hour of science class would probably be the best time for nap time, being that our esteemed state leaders have proven you don’t even need a 5th grade understanding of science to be successful in Oklahoma.

Experience History

Oklahoma kids used to dress up in 1800s garb to go on day-long field trips to old-fashioned, one-roomed school houses in order to understand the hardship and history supposedly lived by the children of pioneers. Now Oklahoma kids with working parents who chose online schooling get to experience the hardship and history supposedly lived by 1990s latchkey kids.

Play Social Distancing Freeze Tag

If someone comes within six-feet of you, you’re frozen. The only way to be unfrozen is for a teammate to crawl under your legs at a six-foot distance.

Be the Weird Kid

The CDC recommends students returning to school maintain a separation of six feet between themselves and the other kids. If you truly want your peers to stay away from you, I recommend being the weird kid. In my experience, having a wardrobe that primarily consisted of windsuits and glow-in-the-dark Spongebob t-shirts was more than enough to keep the other middle schoolers away from me.

Get Used to a New Dress Code

For those of you doing homeschooling, you probably already have your pajama pants and cheese-stained t-shirt dress code down pat. But for those of you going to in-person school, I know it sucks having to stick to a strict mask-mandated dress code every day. But if girls can get used to hiding their scandalous bra straps and covering their shoulders when it’s 117 degrees outside, I am sure ya’ll can survive masks for a little bit.

Keep Your Square Dancing Skills Sharp

Kids today are so lucky, with their interent, YouTube, and ability to be on the phone while you’re asking Jeeves for answers to homework. With so much technology, students have no excuse to not keep up with their education, even if they are working from home. So grab your sibling or pet and promenade.

Stay Away from Band Class

Even if the director has the band kids blocking six feet away from each other in the marching set, it’s best to stay away from the field. God knows how far those Sousaphones can blast COVID-19 sixparticles.

Social Distance at Teacher Funerals

We’re pretty sure that funerals are still being counted as excused absences, so whether it’s for a teacher or who caught COVID-19 at school, or even for a grandma who caught if from their grandkid who brought it home from school, please practice social distancing at their funerals.

Don’t Live in Rural Oklahoma

Many parts of Oklahoma still have difficulty getting access to highspeed internet, if they can even secure internet at all. So kids, it’s probably best you don’t live in rural Oklahoma if you want to continue your learning.

Hayley remembers having to write a paper on mandarin ducks in the 5th grade using nothing but grandma’s 1974-era Encyclopedia Britannica. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek

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13 Responses


  1. Wait just a sec, young woman from the hinterlands. You had access to Encyclopedia Britannicas? No more talk about deprivations. I still have my dad’s 1931 Funk & Wagnals (insert Laugh-In joke), my uncles’ 1957 World Books (he would have loved the Internet) and my own 1960 Colliers. Sure, getting the dates was the first time I’d opened any of them in about six months, but I told my sister just last night that I’d probably still have them long after jettisoning one-time favorite books. But, still Britannicas? Wow!


  2. Although I’m of the male persuasion, I know of an easy way to solve the problem of girls’ “scandalous” bra straps peeking out. Don’t know if my idea would be upsetting to assistant principals. It probably would.
    .

    The kids in Georgia who took and uploaded photos of the backs of students’ heads in a crowded hallway at her school (lacking even a pretense at social distancing) were facing suspension for that dastardly behavior. (Administrators later backed down.) Then the students and staff started coming down with COVID-19 – at least 35 cases at the school so far. So they shut down, but now are going to start a hybrid of online and in-person classes. Then those infected folks bring the virus home to mom and dad, brothers and sisters, grandma and grandpa…

    Who could have seen this mess coming? Do you have to flunk an IQ test to be a high school administrator?


    1. is your first paragraph implying that under-age school girls should not wear a bra?
      is that your suggestion?

      pretty creepy dude.


  3. Hayley, i love that squaredancin’ video, it takes me back to my younger days when men were manly and women just flounced around in their tight girdles and fancy square dancen dresses, scrubbin the laundry on rocks by the river, makin lye soap outta animal grease, killin a hen for supper with the snap of a neck, and most important keepin the younguns busy killin stuff with sticks instead of sittin round watchin videos. thank you.


  4. Look at a positive of all this mess. The only reason, ONLY (noticed how I capitalized only to emphasis it?) any college is advancing for playing college football is money. Even the smaller college sports are clamoring how important it is that football play since their sport needs the money generated by them. None of that namby-pamby character building bull shit. Not a word about “scholar” athletes expanding their horizons. It’s just the fucking money. The college needs it, the surrounding community , the television stations need it. The sports agents need it. Say what you will about Mike Gundy and that beautiful Kentucky waterfall of his, but he was honest. College doesn’t run sports for the students. It’s a fucking business and if some of the students get sick or god forbid die, well that’s the price schools are willing to pay with student’s health.


  5. this auntie is not letting her kids anywhere near those school buildings. no sirree!


  6. Why take caution. The more elderly folk dispatched by this plague the more left to youth.

    Understood that teachers are an impediment to any notion of knowledge and the like. Rid ourselves of them them now while we can. A pivotal moment–hell yeah.


    1. That’s right. All of us old fuckers should do the right thing, organize a giant Boomer party with lots o’ drugs and drinking in some location somewhat more hospitable than that dang Burning Man deal, and spray the whole thing with COVID juice – thereby instantly clearing out the deadwood in this population.
      Since I thought of it first, I would of course be excluded. Besides, I don’t much like parties.


  7. Just an idea I had while reading this article, but it seems like it’d be fantastic if the federal government could step up to plate and provide standard instructional material to the different grades through the
    Internet and be sure that they use charismatic instructors that would
    hold the students’ interests so that the kids can’t help but learn.

    Never cared for Biology but happened to have an instructor once that loved teaching and consequently all the kids payed attention. His enthusiasm for whatever the subject rubbed off on you.
    On the other hand, so many of my teachers acted like burn-outs and were only there to hang on long enough to draw retirement. It made
    trying to learn a real chore when such a lack of enthusiasm was all around.

    Maybe there are already a few quality instructional videos available (I wouldn’t know) but I think unless things are done differently we’re going to see some real air-heads in the upcoming generations.

    People all love to learn new things and enjoy / need intellectually
    stimulating material to ponder on occasion. But you can’t quite achieve that if you’re all bored and lack the interest to learn.


  8. I don’t have kids so can’t imagine what it would be like to be put in the position of holding your job and trying to figure out what to do about your kids and school during a pandemic. I’d like to think I’d be a hard NO on sending any kid of mine out there, but homeschooling isn’t an option if you have to leave home to work.

    Mark in OKC’s post made me think back to my own Okla school days back in the 70’s. Most of my “teachers” were PE Football Basketball coaches who left the room to smoke after writing down an assignment on the board. If you happened to be a star player on any of their teams you were often excused from class to do whatever. Our Algebra (basketball coach) “teacher” who I don’t think I heard mumble a word about algebra the whole semester, did us all a favor during tests by leaving the instructor’s answer book open on his desk and going out to the teacher’s lounge to smoke another Marlboro.

    The best and only instruction I had in high school that helped me in College (OU that’s another story) was a good English instructor that taught me enough college composition to get by, and my typing teacher.

    40 some odd years later and the education in the state doesn’t appear any better and is perhaps worse. Interesting side note, most of my classmates scattered to the wind for other states post graduation and this appears to be an ongoing problem. Recently Tulsa offered the 20 somethings money to come live here and work. OK I’ll say it-IMAGINE THAT-yeesh.


    1. That’s too bad.
      I had some stellar high school teachers.
      My trig and calculus teacher was an ex marine colonel and ran his classes like an elite academy.
      My physics teacher was so good I was able to use what I learned to test out of freshman physics in college. Chemistry teacher was the same way.
      When I graduated college I hand-delivered personal invitations to the commencement ceremony and thanked them for helping me succeed.
      This was early 80’s and the teachers I had then were excellent.
      Norman high.


      1. I had several really fine teachers in high school too, back in the late ’60’s. A wonderful English teacher inspired me for years, and a superstar biology teacher just grabbed hold of my young brain and shook it.
        Some really horrific ones too, unfortunately.
        I have to say, though, when I moved here midway through my sophomore year, I was shocked at how far behind Oklahoma schools were than the ones I had attended in Texas.


  9. In my own case I often look back at my education and realize that most of what I learned came from grade school and I’m really glad for having learned the basics well because once I got to jr. high it seemed to all change tremendously.
    In the 50s and 60s being a teacher was probably the most highly respected profession that a lady could hope to achieve. All my teachers were female as well as the principal. No male was on the scene until 6th grade.
    They had a certain self-esteem about them that commanded respect.
    They were proud to be teachers and conducted things accordingly, like professionals.

    No so whenever we moved and I started attending jr. high in the big city. It was cultural shock. You were forced into social circles depending on your family’s income. Basically it was the jocks, soshes (sp) and greasers.
    And the teachers were just a flat-ass joke compared to grade school;
    just there putting in their time to get their checks. The younger ones were often there to pay off college loans. I felt sorry for so many of them not being able to handle the rowdier teens. Some would even step out of the classroom in tears on occasion.
    I believe many had a deep inner resentment for not having succeeded in business and making the money that their college peers did.
    Regretfully, a lot of times it’s not ‘what you know’, but ‘who you know’ that lands you a good job in private industry.
    Sometimes it’s how well you can play golf and brown nose the boss, while the more brilliant thinkers and inner directed types are tossed
    off by the wayside. Such is life. Ain’t always fair.

    Anyway, I also view it as a shame how the younger folks tend to look down on technical skill blue collar workers and tend to think that if you’re not a cubical computer wizz that evidently you’re a dumb ass.
    Getting suckered into astronomical student loans that WILL get paid back and all the while getting their bubble busted when the college degree doesn’t deliver the expected paycheck later in life.

    In a way it’s similar to how many really believe payday loan companies should be regulated more fully to end their
    outrageous interest rates. They prey on the naive and desperate who
    have no real idea what they’re in for once they sign the dotted line.
    It can turn their life into a living hell that’s impossible to escape, yet it’s all legal and all around us, being conducted openly in society with brazen neon signs and enticing TV ads.

    It’s gotten out of hand. College tuition continues to rise and they’re offering the stupidest slide-by courses ever. They know that many have no idea what they’d enjoy and be best suited for as a career and so consequently really take advantage of it. After all, the federal money is ‘easy come – easy go’
    Whereas in the past students would bust ass with multiple part time jobs to help pay tuition. You earned your education and it would generally pay off once you graduate. Now it tends to be so much more of a flim flam scheme in the overall perspective of things.

    Sorry for my rant … I just can’t help but vent here and there.

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