Most local schools have been back in session for nearly two weeks (and some for longer), and it’s certainly been a time requiring patience, adaptation and taking extra steps to do things many of us took for granted.

We’ve watched our youngest students start school with little idea that things are very different this year. We’ve watched the older ones contemplate a very different senior year than they’d likely expected, as well as the possible loss of their senior sports seasons.

We’ve seen teachers adapting to remote teaching, and to having to monitor the social distancing and mask-wearing required for students (and staff) to safely attend in person. And we’ve seen parents having to find a way to balance their livelihoods with the need to oversee remote learning by students who are used to having a trained teacher or two looking over their shoulders all day.

It’s certainly been a challenge.

But the good news is it’s a challenge we have largely risen to. Enough so that this week the Indian River School District moved up the date for students in Grades 4-8 to return to school in person and the DIAA reversed its decision to postpone fall sports until winter, starting practices this week and games just a few weeks down the road.

That’s a big step toward a return to normal. And now the key is for everyone to do their best to ensure that we can continue on that path, by wearing their masks, keeping distant from people outside their households, washing their hands frequently and just generally being more careful of not spreading their germs to others, even if they think they’re well.

With COVID-19 immunity shown to wane after a couple months, until a safe and reliable vaccine has been developed and distributed, we’re all at the mercy of what the people around us do to keep us safe, each of us responsible for our impacts on others.

It’s also an important time to thank all of our frontline workers, both medical and otherwise, and to include our teachers and school staff as well. That extends to our bus drivers, who are now not only charged with getting our children safely to and from school, but also with ensuring that a bus ride to school doesn’t become a gauntlet of potential infection.

Our area has needed more school bus drivers and aides for many years, but never have they been needed more, since many who have done the job are at high risk from this virus and have had to leave those jobs. Distancing requirements also mean there are more buses needed to carry the students whose families can’t take them.

So, if you have the time to pick up a bus route, please consider getting trained and licensed to do so. We’ll need our bus drivers even more if we are to get our high-schoolers back in class, and life a little bit closer to normal, anytime soon.

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