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Last night a friend told me that the Marine Corps band was playing the last concert of the summer outside at the National Harbor. He told me “This is my kids’ last chance to hear classical music live for the forseeable future.” And he was right, and I realized it was my kids’ last chance too. Our local Symphony Orchestra in Baltimore just emailed with the news that they would be banning kids under the age of 12 because they’re ineligble for vaccination. We used to go to the BSO a few times a year for their kids’ programming, but we haven’t been there since at least spring of 2020. I don’t know when vaccination will open up to kids under the age of 12, and at this point, I have no intention of vaccinating my kids, so there’s really no telling when they’ll go back, if ever.
When I bemoaned this situation on Twitter, I heard plenty of “It’s just a short time, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic!”
But let’s be real about the amount of time we’ve already sunk into this situation: It’s nearing a year and a half, with no end in sight. For my two-year-old, that’s basically her entire life. For my four-year-old, it’s all he remembers. For my six and seven-year-olds, they have hazy memories of the Before Times, when everyone around them was unmasked and mingling freely. When they could go to concerts or theatres, when they could go to their gymnastics or dance classes unmasked. Time is measured differently for kids: Two or three years is literally a lifetime for young children. And COVID is defining their entire childhoods and their entire lives.
A Twitter friend just tweeted about a similar situation at his synagogue in Washington D.C.:
Email from synagogue makes it official: Children under 12 not allowed into the building for High Holy Days, but they have a variety of outdoor services.
— Mike Madden (@MikeMadden) August 25, 2021
How are our kids expected to form connections to the arts, to faith, if they’ve been locked out of physical buildings for the majority of their childhoods? These are formative years, and they’re being lit on fire for the sake of making adults feel safer. They’re not being locked out to make anyone safer, but to make people feel safer. It’s senseless, and it’s going to change their relationships with all of these institutions forever. And as a result, it’s going to change these institutions forever. Why is it, then, that none of them seem to realize the effects of these policies, and more importantly: why don’t they care?Published in