School Business Affairs November 2020

20 NOVEMBER 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS FOCUS ON WELLNESS Take 30: Getting Back to Normal Devoting 30 minutes a day to yourself can ensure you don’t lose yourself in unsettling times. By Matthew M. Lentz, MPA, SFO M y day began with a workout with Jill, a coach whom I consider a friend. Even during these COVID-19 times when we can’t work out face-to-face, we keep in touch on Facebook and Instagram. I have missed her prepandemic “sweaty high fives,” but today she gave me great news: optional 60-minute training sessions! My brain said, “I am psyched! We’ll be normal again!” What could have been one of the best moments of my week took a downturn as I looked at the national and local statistics and other indica- tors regarding COVID-19’s spread. I thought about how the country was returning to normal, both economi- cally and socially, then realized it is not “normal.”A 60-minute training session isn’t going to change that. Our school board held a 6½-hour virtual meeting just to review the best options for returning to school. The district staff and our communi- ties wanted a normal reopening; our social-emotional well-being cried out for normalcy; every educator across the board wanted nothing more than a normal reopening of schools. It wasn’t normal, however, and we are now a few months into a school year that will have highs and lows, stressful moments, and instants when we as leaders will have to act full of mind and purpose. We cannot do that unless our own social-emo- tional well-being is cared for. Seeking Normalcy As school business leaders, we seek routine and normalcy, as do the communities we serve. Today, although something may look, smell, or appear to be normal, it isn’t. For example, opening schools is a complex issue that has occupied countless hours in schools and school districts around the world during the past few months. Regard- less of which plan was implemented, the school day and the school and district operations are a departure from what we would consider our “normal.”And there’s no going back—hybrid, remote, and other nontraditional learning options are here to stay, at least for the school year ahead. Supply management, human resources, communications, and financial planning are just some of the tasks in the forefront during the fall months, and now we must add maintaining our personal well- being to that list. Without making time each and every day to ensure our well-being, we will be unable to help guide our schools, students, and community toward a new normal. As school business officials, we turn our attention to virtual meet- ings, technology procurement, and personal protective equipment. Building on the changes and chal- lenges we faced even before COVID- 19, such as equity and school safety, Matt Lentz, school business manager in Pennsylvania, spends time with Franklin— a constant companion and a prime factor in promoting Lentz’s well-being. COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR