## COVID leaves its mark

On Saturdays and Sundays, Jaimie gets a real treat. Instead of looking at the elementary school on our route as we walk past, we turn in, make sure that we’re the only ones there (nothing worse than a dog fight) and then walk across the large school yard to get to the town park.

There’s lots of room to run and sniff and we don’t have to worry about traffic.

The playground is always interesting to look at. There are a few basketball poles with the hoops and nets taken down and the picnic tables are stacked on top of each other. All of this is out of bounds these days.

On the blacktop, there are painted four-square courts, basketball keys, hop, skip and jump areas, and other permanent markings for games. Since this is behind the school, I’m not sure if they’re actually in play either these days.

But, there are other markings. It’s sad and a sign of the times.

During one of the reopenings, the school or the district painted white lines originating from the school building over the blacktop and onto the yard all the way to the fences. You can think of them as wedges that start at the wall and spread out as they reach the outside of the playground. As with many legacy county schools, it has a huge yard. At the time, signs were stuck in the group within each of the areas defined by the lines and students were to keep in their area during recesses. So, there was an Area A, Area B, etc. and finally, an Area K which was at the front of the school completely on blacktop and had little tricycles and wagons enclosed. I guess we know who gets to play there.

But everyone else was to stay in their slice of the yard. I can see the logic as being one way to try and dissipate the students and encourage social distancing.

The Mathematics teacher in me saw this as a challenge and a chance for outside mathematics. Wouldn’t it be cool to measure the distances from the building to the fences and then work out the area of each? Then, you could lobby the principal to be allowed to play in the bigger area. It would be the sort of problem about irregular shapes that would normally generate the question “When are we ever going to need to know this?”

Time, rain, and grass cutting has come and gone since the original plan. The lines in the playground are just a memory for a guy and his dog who look for every little detail to amuse them during their regular walks.

But, the marking remains on the blacktop. Just like the four-square and basketball markings, these stand up to sunshine and rain. If school resumes in September or whenever they’re a permanent reminder that COVID was around at one time and left its mark even here.