Should your kids attend school this year?

Parents will soon need to make a decision on their child’s education

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With school quickly approaching, the debate of in-class school versus virtual learning has been the topic of discussion more recently. Both extremes of the argument, in-person classes with no masks required or virtual only school, have been discussed, as well as every scenario in-between.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each scenario and making a decision is no easy task. Parents weigh their options, and the guilt associated with their decision weighs heavy, not just for parents of school kids, but parents of kids who go to daycare, where some school kids will be joining them once the school day is done.

Like many people, parents do not work just for something to do: they work because they need a paycheck to support their family. This means that unless retired grandparents live close by, or a stay-at-home friend is willing to take in your kids to become their in-home teacher, you either need to plan on being a teacher after you get home from your workday or prepare to have your kids attend school.

What the experts say

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has weighed in on this topic and their guidance might surprise you.

Their article on cdc.gov titled “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall” starts off by acknowledging the understandable fear related to children’s safety, but then reminds readers that most children who have tested positive are “less likely to suffer severe symptoms,” and that the death rates for children are far lower than adults.

Feeling better yet? For some, the words “suffer” and “death” may stick out like a sore thumb and do nothing to boost a parent’s confidence. Let’s keep reading.

“The harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, behavioral health, economic well-being and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant.”

There it is, the other spectrum of this discussion. The reason why this decision is so difficult, but very important.

The article continues to discuss the vital importance that schools have on children, including topics of developing friendships, communication skills, emotional and mental capacities, meeting nutritional and physical activity needs and providing a safe space for those who live in an unsafe environment.

The CDC has given reopening guidance to schools. To help you decide whether or not to have your kids attend school, ask the school what precautions they are putting in place to help protect your children. An extra precaution you as a parent can provide to your children, whether the school is requiring it or not, is to follow the CDC’s recommendations and have your child wear a cloth facemask.

Is homeschooling while working an option?

Last school year, when schools closed and parents also became teachers, homeschooling memes and photos flooded the internet. “Two students have been suspended for fighting. One teacher fired for drinking on the job” was one of those photos, that while good for a laugh, really gave us all some insight as to how well homeschooling was going for some, and probably most, parents. That wasn’t even for a full semester, so is it realistic to give yourself the expectation of homeschooling for a full year?

When considering if homeschooling while working is an option, it is important to think about the well-being of your family, your children’s ages, how flexible your job is and if your school is going to have a virtual platform this coming school year.

The Decision

Whether you decide to have your children attend school, partake in homeschooling or somewhere in-between, your decision will need to be made soon, as the school year draws near. There are many pros and cons with each scenario to consider before making a decision, and it is no easy one to make. Use your resources, talk with family and friends and remember, it is your decision as the parent and no one else’s. You are just trying to do right by your littles.

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