There is a lot of fear and wariness going on today with the pandemic. One major concern or decision that many metro-Atlanta families are facing is whether to send the kids back to school or keep them in virtual school. School districts have created plans for re-opening, some of which involve “phases” or “stages”. But there is a lot that goes into making this decision, and it might feel like it’s a huge weight on your shoulders. Fortunately, the CDC has plenty of tools, considerations, and resources to help you make the decision about sending your kids back to school. We’ll go over some things you need to consider and some resources the CDC has available.
Considerations for sending your kids back to school.
When it comes to sending your kids back to school, you need to consider what’s best for your family and your situation. Different factors can come into play, such as health concerns, work considerations, and the schooling itself. This situation is stressful and there are a ton of different things you’re juggling. You might also be thinking about things like services your school offers, childcare, and even your kids’ extracurriculars.
What it comes down to is weighing the pros and cons of sending your kids back to school. Think about the benefits of in-school learning and the services the school offers versus the risk of COVID. (A major factor to consider is whether your child or anything in your family is at increased risk of COVID-19.) What does the spread look like in your community, what do the numbers look like? It might feel impossible to weigh these things against each other, but you can look at the CDC’s resources. They have tools that can help gauge your family’s risk and choose between remote learning, in-person learning, or hybrid-style learning (if you have the option to choose). It can help you prepare for your school year. So that might be a tool to help you navigate this difficult decision.
Tips for reviewing your school’s plan.
If your child’s school has communicated their plan for re-opening with you, there are a few questions you can ask to evaluate the plan and the measures the school will take.
- What measures or procedures will be in place to reduce the spread of COVID? Will there be measures like social distancing, frequent hand washing, and masks?
- Will the school environment be kept healthy and clean with appropriate ventilation, cleaning, and disinfecting?
- What operational procedures will be in place? Will schedules be staggered? Are groups going to be kept small?
- What is the plan or procedure for when someone is sick?
Now, we’ve mentioned that the CDC has a tool to help you evaluate your situation and the pros and cons of your child going back to school. Their tool can help you take stock of your family’s needs and evaluate your comfort level with your child or children going to in-person school. It’s set up with boxes that you can check off to say whether you answer Agree, Disagree, or Unsure about different questions. When you pick the box that most closely suits how you feel. If you realize that there are a lot of Unsure or Disagree boxes checked, you might want to open up a conversation with your school, your family doctor, or your employer. (And it can even help you pinpoint the specific concerns you want to talk about.)
The pandemic led to a lot of changes, and it’s not easy to juggle working from home, childcare, and online learning. Schools starting to reopen presents yet another dilemma. If your school is opening back up for in-person learning, it might be tough to decide what to do. Of course, you have to evaluate your own situation and your family’s needs – the CDC tool we mentioned is just one way to do that.
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