Back to School Check-In: You’re Not Alone

It’s back to school time! In the past, those words marked the start of a new year, and excitement for kids looking forward to reconnecting with school friends.

This year is very different.

As parents we’re experiencing a myriad of emotions and, I’m not going to lie, it’s tough to sort through them all.

We’re excited for our children to return to “normal”, whatever that is.

We’re nervous about how the virus will respond as children head back to the classroom, but we’re also concerned about the impact online schooling could have on their future.

We are worried about the virus targeting our teachers in classrooms across the country.

We’re afraid of how new outbreaks could impact our families, our communities and the businesses that have just started getting back to work.

We’re trying hard not to let all the differing emotions dampen the spirits of our kids who have been through more than we could have imagined.

And, we’re wrestling with making the right decisions for our unique situation, health, and family, whether that’s opting for online learning, full-time in-class instruction, or a hybrid approach.

“Parents: What we are being asked to do is not humanly possible. There is a reason we are either a working parent, a stay-at-home parent, or a part-time working parent … It’s not hard because you are doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much. Do the best you can.”  Emily W. King, Ph.D. Public Service Announcement

Check Ins – You’re Not Alone

As parents, we’re experiencing a wide range of emotions from renewed concern as we hear news of cases surging in various regions, to excitement as activities reopen so we have an opportunity to do things that have been shut down since March (like taking in a movie!) Those feelings also change on a daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute basis.

Whatever you are feeling right now, own it. We are all feeling the same surge of emotions. Each one of us has had to make herculean efforts to cope during these unprecedented times. We’ve had to make impossible decisions and I know I’m not alone when I admit that I second-guess the decisions I’ve made in the moment, while wondering how others will judge my actions and decisions.

Here’s a secret: No one is, or should, be issuing judgements on situations they don’t understand. And the only person who understands your situation is YOU.

We are all doing the very best we can in an impossible situation. I think we need to give each other a pat on the back for a job well done in a situation that has been unimaginable for most.

When’s the last time you’ve checked in on someone in your circle … the mom who’s decided to home school instead of facing risks of sending kids back to school, or the parent who’s looking at a hybrid format trying to juggle a fluid world of work from home and school schedules. It’s not easy for anyone right now, and sometimes a quick touch base can give someone a lift and the strength to keep going.

Crisis Sparks Innovation

It is during the hardest times that we can see the best in people and companies. This pandemic has been no exception. We’ve witnessed ordinary people stepping up in amazing ways. We’ve seen organizations turn on a dime to provide services we desperately needed during the months of social isolation, and we’ve seen companies fast-tracking programs to support employees, communities, customers, and partners. And we’ve seen unprecedented creativity and innovation.

Behind the scenes at Intel, we have an important group of people who have been helping analyze this evolving situation and drive our internal response. The Intel Pandemic Response Team (established more than 15 years ago to improve Intel’s crisis management response capability) has been at the center of Intel’s efforts to protect the health of our employees, help our customers and partners keep their businesses operating, and support our local communities.

From the first announcement of our $50 million Intel Pandemic Response Technology Initiative, Intel, like many companies globally have been getting creative on ways to fill the gaps that appeared in society. To help students, we announced a $5 million initiative from Intel and CDW-G to help students in underserved areas and a program to boost participation in virtual classes at Los Angeles Unified School District. We’ve also witnessed an “Unprecedented Catalyst for Collective Innovation in Tech for Good”, access to proprietary intellectual property and innovation in health care to help accelerate treatment and a cure.

Take Time for Generosity and Kindness

I have been impressed with the companies around the world that have rallied together to support those who need it most. Sometimes when we’re dealing with the day-to-day realities of the pandemic and we start to feel like we are drowning in our conflicting emotions, it can help to take a step back and think about the good things around us.

Moments of gratitude help keep me grounded and focused on positive things … so let me start us off.

  • I’m grateful to our frontline workers who are shouldering a massive burden for us all.
  • I’m grateful to my local retail store workers who keep the stores open and our shelves full.
  • I’m grateful to my kids and my family who, each in their own ways, have found an inner strength to help us get through the past seven months.
  • I’m grateful to the teachers and education workers who are tasked with helping to lighten our load, while adding to theirs.
  • I’m grateful to all of you. You’ve taken on a tremendous challenge and have shown kindness and resilience while facing the previously unimaginable.

“We’re in this together” has become a bit of a rallying cry for us this year, and while we adjust to the new normal, I think we need to shout it out with renewed vigor. You are not alone. I see your struggles and your triumphs. I see you. Keep going.

Published on Categories IT Leadership, UncategorizedTags , ,
Rachel Mushahwar

About Rachel Mushahwar

Rachel Mushahwar, VP/GM of US Enterprise and Government, leads 9 different industry verticals in the US (Cloud, Retail, Transportation, Manufacturing, Energy, Financial Services, Government/SLED, Media/Entertainment, and Health Life Sciences) and is accountable for ~$4B in sales. Her focus is on enabling companies to realize the value of innovative offerings and delivering end-to-end innovative solutions to the industry that solve real-world business problems. She was recently named as “US Business Woman of the Year” by Insight Success and named by ChainStoreAge as one of the “Top Ten Women in Technology” in January 2017 and Women’s Wear Daily listed her among the “Top Industry Transformers” in December 2016. She has been on Wall Street Journal Live, and most recently NBC Press Here talking about how industries need to transform to compete.