The debate about whether or not kids should go back to school has become a mainstream conversation in the United States. Most parents are finding themselves conflicted about the choice. On one hand, they need school in order to function but on the other hand, they worry about the safety of it all.
As a parent, you may find yourself changing your mind from day to day based on what you read in the news or conversations you have with friends. The truth of the matter is that there is no right or wrong answer. In fact, what will work for one family may be completely different than what will work for another. Figuring out what your best course of action will be will require a lot of thought. To help with this decision, these 6 circumstances should be considered.
Flexibility of your schedule – Some parents have very flexible schedules. One or both parents may be able to work from home and have the ability to continue to homeschool. Alternatively, there are people who are being called back to work and won’t be able to do so if their kids are at home full time. This matters and will factor into whether or not you’re a parent who sends their kid back to school.
Your child’s needs – There are certain kids that are thriving during their time at home. Maybe the loss of daily friendships is being balanced out by the extra time with parents. You might also have a child who is completely okay with doing everything virtually and not seeing friends. Some kids are hungry for knowledge and can excel in a virtual environment just as well as they do in an in-person setting. Some kids, however, have special needs or require a little extra in-person motivation. There are other kids who need school to bring them out of their shells and will have very little interaction with other kids if it's not in school.
Your immediate circle – While this disease affects all people, it tends to affect people who are older or with pre-existing conditions more. If your child will be around anyone in your family or friendship circle that is more at risk, you’ll need to consider this. If you choose to enroll your kid in school, you may have to limit your contact with people in a higher risk category. If this absolutely isn’t an option, the best choice may be to keep your kid at home.
Other childcare options – Do you have other childcare options? Could a family member or friend watch your child while you work? Or could you afford to hire a sitter? Maybe you’re in a great financial situation where you can hire a tutor to help out with their distance learning. Whatever the case, having other options will allow parents to make a decision that doesn’t feel forced.
Your child’s age – Studies around the world show that older kids may contract and spread COVID-19 worse than younger kids do. On the other hand, if you’re worried about the ability to wear a mask and social distance, older kids may have an advantage over younger ones. You’ll need to think about which of these factors is most important to you before deciding which route to take.
Trust in the school – Schools have hypothetical plans in place but whether or not they’ll be able to pull them off is still up in the air. As a parent, you should compile a list of safety concerns that you have and discuss them with the school before sending them back. If you don’t feel as if the safety concerns have been addressed well, you may want to keep your child at home. If, however, you feel as if your child’s school has got it under control, it may help to calm some of your nerves.