Welcome Back to School

(Now Get Out of the Classroom) 

By Meg Walburn Viviano 

“Virginia is for Lovers.” Our neighbors to the south have used this state slogan since 1969, when a Mad Men-era advertising firm pitched it to the Virginia Travel Service to encompass all the things visitors love about the state. The slogan meant different things to different people, part of its lasting appeal. Today, it’s plastered everywhere—from bumper stickers and license plates to the 275+ giant LOVE statues erected in various towns. 

When it comes to living here in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay region, I’d like to propose a Virginia-inspired slogan of my own: “Chesapeake Country is for Learning.” 

You see, we’re heading into the first week of school and like many parents, I’ve got learning on the brain. My oldest child will march off to kindergarten in Anne Arundel County Public Schools next week, and I’ve got all the classic anxieties: Will he make friends? Will he behave himself for the teacher? What will it be like having him away from me 33 hours a week, every week? 

For many families, this school year brings a whole extra set of anxieties, heading back to school in person after almost a year and a half of virtual or hybrid classes. Re-learning social norms and making up for academic backslide are just a couple of the challenges students face. 

The 2021-2022 school year comes as a crossroads for families who opted to take their children out of school last year, in favor of small-group “learning pods” or formal homeschooling. Some are transitioning back to traditional school, while others will continue to homeschool. One thing is certain: “Back to school” looks a little different than ever before. (Read all about it in our cover story). 

So getting back to my slogan… Why is Chesapeake Country, specifically, for learning? Because whether you’re on a public, private or homeschool path, there are vast opportunities to learn outside of school—even for those of us whose classroom days are long over. 

In this issue of CBM Bay Weekly, we look at ways you can immerse yourself in the unique history of the region (JoustingEastport boatbuilding! Amazing marine fossil discoveries! Farm life at the county fair!). There’s a remarkable variety of things to learn about—all tied to Chesapeake Country’s history and culture.  

This Labor Day weekend, the last hurrah of summer, make it your mission to get out and learn something in our region. You won’t need to bring pencils, textbooks, or back-to-school anxiety, just your curiosity and love of Chesapeake Country.