His son, Oscar, 6, started first grade three weeks ago, and Herman is hoping that, health concerns notwithstanding, the hours of separation will allow him to inch back toward Mister Rogers territory. Because his wife is a veterinarian who’s had to continue to work in-person throughout the pandemic, oversight of Oscar’s virtual schooling fell to Herman — a requirement that pushed Herman to leave his academic career as a theology professor and take a more flexible marketing job.
Herman misses teaching, but doesn’t trust that his son’s return to school is permanent. His niece in Pennsylvania had a recent covid exposure through her field hockey team. His wife’s boss sent a kid back for exactly one day before an outbreak was detected and a group of students was sent home to quarantine.
“It doesn’t feel stable and steady,” he says. “It feels like, ‘We’re doing this for now.’ ”