Updated date:

How to Decide Whether to Send Your Kid to Physical School During A Pandemic

Maren has taught pre-school through college. She loves the wonder of learning.

Tackle the Question Systematically

A checklist to make sure you do not forget any aspects of the challenge.

A checklist to make sure you do not forget any aspects of the challenge.

Online, Home School, Physical School, or a Combination?

American parents are highly stressed. Decisions about how to have their children age 18 and younger schooled are fraught with financial and health concerns.

This article will help you think about ALL the parts of the experience of going to a school building. It will help you decide the "physical school" portion of the options you must choose among.

This is to assist you in having no regrets.

I want you to be able to look in the mirror every day for the rest of your life and say, “I made a good decision for my child.”

A Teacher Gives You the Straight Talk

I taught in public and private schools – urban, suburban, and rural. I am a parent and grandparent. And right now, I am also a concerned citizen.

We need to make good decisions in the face of the spread of this very communicable virus about which we have so much yet to learn.

As a teacher . . .

Of course, we teachers were tasked with an incredible number of goals. But there was a Number One goal. It was like the Prime Directive of the Star Trek television series.

Our prime directive surpassing any other goal was:

KEEP THEM SAFE

Learning is good. It was our purpose for existing. But if you didn’t keep the students safe, what good was their mastering some new academic skill?

If a child arrived at school in the morning with ten fingers, we were expected to deliver her home at the end of the day with ten fingers.

If students came with hair on their heads, we dare not send them home with bald, fire-singed scalps.

You probably agree that it should be absolutely paramount for schools to keep students safe. It is the Alpha and Omega.

And, if you are a parent, it is also your Alpha and Omega.

The Rooms and Places Where The Kids Will Be

COVID-19 has so many unknown features.

We are using 14 days as a guess about incubation time, but this is heavily based on the behavior of other viruses – because we just haven’t had enough time to collect data on COVID-19.

We suspect there are some possible long-term side effects or disabilities left in its wake, but, again, we just haven’t had enough time to collect data.

Please ask these two questions in front of each item in the list:

  1. 1. Will my child be safe ________
  2. 2. What exact measures are being taken to keep my child safe ___________

I. In the building:

A.Normal conditions

In the facility as a whole

  1. In the learning space (classroom, etc. . . .)
  2. In the eating space
  3. In the recreation space
  4. While moving to different spaces in the facility

B. “What if” this happens?

1.A classmate has a positive contact with an infected individual, or is confirmed to have COVID-19

2. A teacher or adult staff has a positive contact with an infected individual, or is confirmed to have COVID-19

3. A family member/household member of any of the above has a positive contact with an infected individual, or is confirmed to have COVID-19

4. A surge in confirmed cases in my community causes the area to go into extreme stay-at-home orders

II. Getting to the building and back home

A. Normal conditions

1. On the bus

2. Waiting in rooms or lines for the bus, and disembarking from the bus

3. In a car or a car pool

4. Disembarking from the car

B. “What if” this happens

1. A classmate has a positive contact with an infected individual, or is confirmed to have COVID-19

2. A teacher or adult staff has a positive contact with an infected individual, or is confirmed to have COVID-19

3. A family member/household member of any of the above has a positive contact with an infected individual, or is confirmed to have COVID-19

4. A surge in confirmed cases in my community causes the area to go into extreme stay-at-home orders

III. Extra-curricular and inter-scholastic activity

Please apply all the questions shown above.

Personally, I think that sports and anything that is not socially distanced needs to be omitted for the fall semester or the entire 2020-21 academic year.

These are not ordinary times.

A pandemic demands a “pass” from gathering people together unnecessarily.


A Pandemic Is a Seriously Bad Event

Yes, there is a pandemic. Let’s reiterate that means a worldwide, very bad illness going around. And yet, some organizations are frozen – frozen as stiffly as the trite-but-true deer in the headlights.

You, as a guide and advocate for your child, must not be frozen. You must formulate what risks exists for many scenarios and then which ones you can tolerate to achieve an outcome.

This risk-benefit perspective is very familiar to those in the insurance realm. Now it must be applied to your family's decisions about schooling.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Maren Elizabeth Morgan

Comments

Maren Elizabeth Morgan (author) from Pennsylvania on October 24, 2020:

SARA, I am so glad that it was helpful. I am fortunate that I have teacher friends who shared with me what issues their school systems were either wrestling with OR neglecting to wrestle with. Be very safe and well during this challenge.

SARA from Islamabad on October 23, 2020:

Thank you for this wonderful article. I was very worried about my daughter that whether I should send her or not. Your beautifully written article has helped me a lot to take a right decision.

Maren Elizabeth Morgan (author) from Pennsylvania on August 13, 2020:

Linda Crampton, your provincial authorities are wise to move slowly. I have several friends who teach. They feel that another critical factor for schools is to acknowledge and be prepared to execute rapid changes as public health conditions turn.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 12, 2020:

This is a thought-provoking article. This is certainly a difficult time for parents. The decision about whether to send children back to school could be very hard, especially in some areas.

Where I live, even the provincial government seems to be uncertain about the situation at the moment, though they have established a set of guidelines for schools. They announced yesterday that when school opens in September, at first only teachers will attend so that they can make plans that are relevant for their school.

Maren Elizabeth Morgan (author) from Pennsylvania on August 11, 2020:

Devika Primic, thank you. I am glad it is helpful. What is the school situation in Croatia? Is August or September the traditional time for students to return to school after a summer break?

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 11, 2020:

You have enlightened me on an important message here to our kids and attending school in the midst of the pandemic. Informative for families and useful to all.