As you read this column on a fresh and nippy December morning, Northern Ireland's schools should have already shut their doors on 2020. But they haven't.
So, why haven't they? It seems to be a clear sign that the voices of our teachers aren't being heard clearly enough.
All the efforts being made to allow some degree of flexibility during the Christmas period feel somewhat futile as hundreds of thousands of teachers, staff and students are being sent home to their wider families, just days after being cocooned in a potential petri dish of a classroom environment.
There are many people working on the frontline that don't have the luxury, of course, or those in front-facing jobs. But given just how many people we are talking about - around 16,000 teachers, 350,000 children in schools - a switch to one week of remote-working seems like the sensible and achievable thing to do.
That's with the proviso of families here being given sufficient time to plan and make arrangements to deal with this. An 11th-hour shuttering wouldn't work - as we've seen elsewhere in the Executive's decision-making.
Our schools and principals shouted as loudly as they could. The news stories speak for themselves when it comes to transmission and burgeoning cases of widespread isolating. But Education Minister Peter Weir stood firm on keeping them open.
Cutting the cord on schools being physically open this year on December 11 would have given a clear fortnight for staff and students alike to isolate from one another, before heading home, or visiting family members.
Yes, that doesn't stop either students or staff from continuing to mix with others and being individually irresponsible, but it puts a full-stop on the requirement for hundreds of people to be contained in one building, risking transmission, or having to isolate for two weeks.
A deluge of school principals had written to call on the Minister to close early. But it didn't happen.
There are cases of half-empty, or in some instances almost entirely empty, classrooms - with children isolating due to contact, or potential contact, with a positive case.
When you hear an instance of 500 pupils being sent home from one high-profile school alone, with more than 30 positive cases, then, multiplying this right across Northern Ireland certainly sells the case for closing just five days earlier than planned.
Peter Weir appears to have a linear message - children are better off in school. There's no doubt that's the case. But the case in front of him now, on this occasion, seems abundantly clear.
Elsewhere, in Wales for example, all secondary schools and further education colleges will move classes online from today.
Renewed words from Health Minister Robin Swann that we should prepare for, or expect, restrictions across society in the new year, while seemingly valid given the mixing of households over Christmas, seem equally inevitable, given that we are sending students and staff out to see their wider families just days after being in the classroom environment - further increasing the chance of spreading cases far and wide.
But this latest situation highlights something endemic. Teachers here aren't been treated with the degree of respect they deserve and their opinions aren't being taken seriously enough - despite being such a large chunk of the public workforce.
One of my former teachers put it well in a recent, heartfelt and articulate blogpost. "The anti-teacher vitriol ... the talk of lazy, selfish teachers who are voicing concern that both they and their students will have their family Christmas cancelled if told to self-isolate for 14 days, right at the end of term."
This teaching environment has been tough on pupils, particularly those just starting out on their secondary school journey and those carrying out the most important of exams, which - whether it's a fair system or not - will go on to shape their education and working futures for years and decades to come.
But the job for our teachers has become even more of a daunting task this year. The plethora of pressures and workloads increasing exponentially - dealing with the ebb and flow of changing circumstances, plans and deadlines around examinations and the constant impact of both coronavirus cases in schools and a steady stream of pupils and staff isolating.
"So many people hate us," my former teacher writes. "It's time to look behind the convenient teacher-bashing smokescreen. To appreciate the work and strain behind our masks."
I'd encourage the minister to take the concerns and considerations of the teaching cohort to heart: listen to what they have to say and understand the issues facing education here, including those caused by the current pandemic, are best understood by those on the ground, across our schools, each day.
John Mulgrew is editor of Ulster Business