Best Bets

A quick glance at today’s Homer News reveals a frightening development: a boat load of articles about heading back to school. Kids, those long, languid days of summer end in a week. Unlike previous school starts, things will be a wee bit different for the 2020-21 year. Some of you will be homeschooling. Others will do distance education. If you’re taking live classics, hoo-boy will it be lively.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into a tizzy. In past days kids heading out to wait for the school bus might have to check the weather to see if they need a raincoat. As the poet Basho said, “Winter’s first rain / Monkey needs / A raincoat too” — or a face mask. Along with hip new hair styles — fuchsia is the new purple, the Betster hears — and comfortable but stylish clothing, all but the little tykes need to wear face coverings in school this year.

For that science-geek look, do you wear a face shield or go with the pale blue surgical mask? Ear loops or strings? Plain black or camouflage? Do you go for Alaska designs like northern lights and salmon or sports team logos? What about slogans on face coverings?

Some things will be easier, like putting on make-up. You might not have to fuss as much if half your face will be covered by a mask. On the other hand, perhaps more attention will be paid to eyeshadow, mascara and liner. Will those mask ties mess with a carefully coiffed hairdo? Perhaps it’s time to channel your inner cosmic Homer hippie. Ask your parents for advice.

On top of all that, just like the weather and impending snowfalls, families and school officials will be tracking safety levels. Are we at low-, medium- or high-risk? It’s not just blizzards we have to worry about shutting down schools, but outbreaks of our little buddy SARS-CoV-2. Yikes!

Take a deep breath. Look back to how we quickly adapted last March, when school ended abruptly and we locked down. We understand this dang disease better. We know how to fight it, and the medical scientists are coming up with new tricks every day. Progress toward a reliable vaccine advances. We’re learning to be kinder toward each other, more considerate and more careful.

Enjoy one last week of vacation, Betster persons, as you prep for school, perhaps with these best bets:

BEST GET READY BET: Thinking about taking Kenai Peninsula College classes? Want to learn more about programs? Check out “Question and Answer with Kenai Peninsula College” at 2 p.m. today. Whether you are registered for classes at the Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer or the River Campus in Soldotna, or both, join your college and campus directors for answers to questions about this semester at KPC. Better yet, you can participate remotely and safely via Zomm at

BEST SHOW AND TELL BET: Join the Pratt Museum with “Windowsill Stories: Family Edition” for a conversation from 6-7:30 pm. tonight on Zoom with museum members, staff and friends of all ages. Windowsill Stories is a show-and-tell event where we share the things we love to collect and what they mean to us. From beachcombing treasures to art and historical family photographs — they even had a perfumer collector share with us how scent shapes our experience of the world.

Put the kids in their jammies (they’re invited too!), grab a mug of tea, and gather around the computer for Windowsill Stories.

Sign up at

The last petals of fireweed begin to bloom on Aug. 3, 2020, at the Homer Harbor in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The last petals of fireweed begin to bloom on Aug. 3, 2020, at the Homer Harbor in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)