We just decided whether we’re sending our kids back to school

Oy vey, someone get me some Pepto Bismol stat because my stomach feels like it’s full of a swarm of butterflies that all have Montezuma’s Revenge. Why? Because we have until next Tuesday to decide whether to send our kiddos back to school in person.

It’s weird because I kinda know my decision already, but I’m still agonizing over it and 5% of me thinks I might go the other way. Technically we don’t have to decide until next week so I can still go back on it if I want to. And forward and back and forward and back because I’m sure I’m going to change my mind like a thousand times.

ME: (8:00) Do you think it’s the right decision?

MY HUBBY: I don’t know.

ME: (8:15) Do you think it’s the right decision?

MY HUBBY: I still don’t know.

ME: (8:30) Now do you think it’s the right decision?

MY HUBBY: Yes. 

ME: Are you just saying yes so I’ll leave you alone?

MY HUBBY: Maybe. 

And here’s the thing, no matter what we decide, it’s NOT the right decision. Because there is NO right decision. Every decision feels wrong right now. And that sucks. Our district is offering us two choices:

  • Fulltime in-person school and risk our kids (and us) getting coronavirus

OR

  • Fulltime e-learning from home and risk our kids’ education and mental health

And we have to stick with whatever decision we make until winter break. Don’t get me wrong, our district seems to be doing EVERYTHING right, but unfortunately they’re not wizards who can magically protect our kiddos from the pandemic, or magically make e-learning the same as in-person school. They have been tackling this logistical nightmare all summer and I worship the ground they walk on for doing it. 

So every family is forced to make the best decision they can. For themselves. Without judgement from anyone else. Well, WITH judgement from lots of asshats on Facebook who feel the need to make a-holey comments, so I’ve stopped reading Facebook. Anyways, here is how we are making this monumental decision in our family. 

The Science

Every afternoon I visit a website. The Illinois Department of Health, and I look at two things. The first thing I look at is yesterday’s numbers, including the number of positive cases in Illinois AND the positivity rate. The next thing I do is go look at the numbers in our zip code. It seems like most days are between 0 and 5 new cases. I’m feeling pretty darn good about the numbers in our area. But let’s just say if those numbers start to tick up quickly or something, you better bet that’ll affect our decision. 

The District’s Plans

There were a number of things that I wanted to know before I decided anything. Like can I dress them in oxygenized astronaut suits and would the school please put them through a hand sanitizer shower as they’re leaving the building every day? No and no. Crap. But seriously, there were a bunch of safety measures I was looking for.   

Social distancing

Are they going to be able to sit at least six feet apart from the other students? The answer: yes. We’re lucky. Our buildings are big and we have a lot of staff, so classes will be 15 kids or lower and the desks will be very spaced apart.  

Masks

Will kids and staff be wearing masks? The answer: yes. With the understanding that wearing a mask all day is hard so the staff will be getting the kids outside to give them mask breaks. They even invested in huge tents in case it’s raining.

The Ventilation System

Will the ventilation system be upgraded? The answer: yes. They’re upping the system to the maximum amount of fresh air it can pump in. 

A Crapload of other Measures too

Seriously, there are like a million other things they had to think about, from deep cleaning every night, to how to handle bathroom breaks, to how do they walk down the hallways, to temperature checks, to lunchtime etc etc etc etc etc. Hundreds of hours of thought have gone into making this as safe as possible. Not perfect, but as safe as possible. Am I scared shitless? Yes. Am I scared so much I’m shitting bricks? Yes. See? My butt doesn’t even know what to do.

Mental Health

The last thing I looked at was MY kiddos. What do they need? And it’s clear. Zoey especially. My kids need to be with their peers. Not on a zoom call. Not on bikes. Not on Facetime. They need to be sitting, learning, reading, laughing, playing, talking with other kids their age. As much as I can do almost everything for them at home, I can’t do that. Not all kids are like this, but mine are. 

So we’ve made our decision. Back they go. And when there is a Covid-19 case in the school, we will get a letter about it. Just like a lice letter or a strep letter or a whooping cough letter. Only not.

Because this letter will be about a pandemic that’s killing hundreds of thousands of people. And at that moment I will truly question our choice to send our kids back to school. Even though I know in my heart that it’s the best decision for our family. Not the right decision. The best decision. The same way everyone is making the best decision for their own families. That’s really all we can do. And just hope it’s okay.

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There are 47 comments for this article
  1. Jperkins at 10:25 am

    I think you are makig the right decision for your kids even though it’s really scary. I wish in the area I lived in there was a choice!

  2. DMH (@dmh232323) at 10:28 am

    We have made the same decision as you for almost the exact same reason; particularly for my child who is Zoey’s age. This is all so hard but hearing that others came to the decision in much the same way is somewhat reassuring ❤️

  3. Laura at 10:34 am

    Honestly, I think I would have made the same decision if given the choice. Our district is going completely virtual this fall, so we had no choice. And I would be scared to send my kids back because of the risks of illness, to them, their peers, their teachers, etc….BUT i think the social and emotional benefit of being at school would win out for me. Unfortunately, since we live in an area where there is a big surge in cases right now, we don’t get to go that route, so instead we are going to be stuck working from home and our kids are going to continue to go stir crazy. Yes, they’ll be safer from COVID, but I truly worry about the impact on all of our mental health, especially theirs.

  4. Kerri Davis Strupp at 10:35 am

    We have made the same decision. I am in Florida and our cases are skyrocketing. For my kids mental health they want to go back. My oldest wants to have as much of a normal senior year as possible and my 8th grader does not learn well online. I am having chest pains and so much anxiety about them going back. If cases start to pop up in school I will pull them. A teacher in my daughter’s middle school just passed away from COVID, so it makes my decision so much harder.

  5. Lisa Pochmara at 10:44 am

    I know. I’m a teacher as well as a parent of an 8 and a 10 year old. We’ve made the decision to send our kids back. It’s not the right decision, but no other choice is the right decision, either. This is so stressful. And I still don’t know what I’ll be doing this fall…

  6. Joanne at 10:45 am

    We haven’t had to decide yet. We are waiting to see what our school district is doing to meet guidelines, but for our family we are leaning heavily toward going to in person school (my boy is Zoey’s age and a solid introvert). If I don’t push Jace to interact with other human beings he won’t. My household includes my 77 year old dad, making this a scarier choice. However we have decided if Jace goes to school in person he will come home from school go directly to the shower – get clean and change clothes. More laundry for me but worth it I think. It seems to us the best way to keep us all physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.

  7. Nicole at 10:47 am

    I disagree when you say “my children need to be with their peers”. What many people are missing is that a in person school during a pandemic is not going to look like normal school. They won’t sit with their friends. It’s difficult to have conversations through masks. Learning will have to be individual- no manipulatives, no group work, no shared materials. No games at recess, no lunchtime giggles with friends. It’s a different place now and it will be for a while.

    And what will happen when (not if) someone tests positive? Because then you’re all right back home with zero notice.

    I think you’re wrong.

    • Heather at 11:13 am

      It’s ok to disagree with someone else’s choice if it isn’t for you, but flat out saying they are wrong? I think you’re wrong. We all need more support in this crazy time.

    • Jackie at 12:10 pm

      She clearly stated that this was not the right choice, but the BEST choice for HER family. Please be kind. You can make the best choice for your family and I’ll bet you a million dollars that she will NOT tell you that you are wrong.

    • Kris at 12:15 pm

      Although I agree that things will be very different for the kids given the opportunity to return to school, I think your wrong to assume that they will not get a benefit from sitting in a classroom with their peers. Lunch will still have talking and giggles, it will just be a bit louder. They may not be able to share manipulative, but they will be physically seeing and hearing their peers. Mental health is just as much a factor for parents having to make these decisions as physical health.

    • Leah at 3:09 pm

      No one is right or wrong. Everyone is doing what’s best for their families, you included. Please stop judging her decision.

    • Michelle at 6:28 pm

      I’m sorry but you don’t get to say she is wrong. Those are HER CHILDREN!! You don’t know them. You don’t get to make this very difficult choice for her family. How arrogant of you. How would you like it if someone told you that you were wrong for your very personal decision? Shame on you!! We should be supporting one another. What is right for one family is not right for another!!! I

    • Lauren at 7:51 pm

      I disagree with this. My kids went back to school in June and it was the best decision we made. Our kids were happier after having some social/emotional connections with peers. Yes it was different, but we talked about how it would be different and prepared them. After learning at home for 2 months, my 10 year old said his first day back was better than the first day of summer. Kids need this interaction as part of their development. And if it can be done safely in a school environment with precautions taken, then I am comfortable with that. But I’m also comfortable with every families right to pick what decision is best for their child(ren) and their family. We shouldn’t judge anyone’s decision regarding this. It’s impossible whichever road we take. <3

    • Lacey at 8:30 pm

      I agree. What exactly will being with peers look like? 6 feet apart, no projects, no school activities, lunch spaced apart. Doing it for “ social “ isn’t wise. There won’t be any social

    • Lynne at 8:37 pm

      Normal as in pre-Covid will not be thing for a very long time. Is this 2020 “normal” ever going to be as good? Nope. But it’s what we have. So we all need to figure out a way to exist in it.I am not a parent and can not imagine having to make this decision. But we have to do better than nothing

  8. Amy Liedman at 10:55 am

    THANK YOU for this!!! When I saw the decision you had make I was heart broken…what a mess of a decision and I might have to make the same one. Your blog outlined all the things I have thought of as well! There is no right decision, but using all the info will help ease some of the crazy! THANK YOU!!!

  9. Nikki at 10:58 am

    My son is a high school junior. He prefers online work and asked if he could simply have a social bubble with his best friend. He’s also a student athlete, a cross-country runner in fall and a track distance runner in spring. The coaches for both teams, who are both high-risk individuals, had already worked out very safe training protocols back in March. They are lucky in that their teams are fairly small, so when they gather, they’re all masked up, and they stand a car length apart (the average economy car, like a Hyundai, is 12 feet long). When they run, they now give each runner a 30-second gap before the next one is allowed, to lessen the chance that they’ll end up running into one another’s exhalations. And they run straight routes now, along the shoreline, instead of laps on the track. Meets with other teams have been postponed until 2021, so all they’re doing is staying in shape. But standing a car length apart they are still able to socialize. He was very anxious about having to return to school in person (he’d also asked to start staying home nearly 2 weeks before our district shut down back in May, because he understood what the statistics back then were showing), as cases are rising here and all of the surrounding districts had announced that they were going online, while our district was still planning for in-person, but without nearly enough PPE, tests, etc. Thankfully, the Governor stepped in so now, the year will start online and will move to in-person when it’s safe.

  10. Mari Lopez at 11:05 am

    I feel for you, that is not an easy decision to make. I’m in Los Angeles and our numbers are spiraling out of control real fast. I was extremely relieved to hear that they would go with 100% online. My daughter has pretty bad asthma and a cold has sent her to the ER, so this scares the hell out of me. My son is overall healthy and would probably be asymptomatic, but what happens if he brings it home to us??? Scary! I also feel for the school staff and their risks. It’s screwed up all around. I know that our 100% online plan will place a burden and hardship on many families, but honestly, LA is just not there yet. Southern California isn’t there yet. Good luck. We’re all gonna need it.

  11. Rachel at 11:09 am

    It is really difficult decision. One thing I think you should add in for families making decisions is the health of the teachers, staff and their families. Some teachers would prefer to teach in person but some would not and they do not have a choice. My son can’t social distance and would struggle with a mask so did not put him in but was a hard choice for us.

  12. Annika at 11:12 am

    It’s gonna be alright. When we started sending kids back to school here (Denmark) it did not affect the numbers at all. This was after Easter, and of course with a lot of safety procedures, however without masks, as you will be using. But really important to prepare your kids that it is NOT school as they know it. With all the safety the staff has to handle it is really only an emergency level of learning that is possible. My son learned more being schooled from home, than he does being back in school, even with both parents working at the same time. But there is no choice here, so hopefully things will get better soon everywhere, although I know we are really lucky living where we do. I hope all the best for you in the US.

    • Kerrin at 1:51 am

      This was such a helpful perspective, Annika. Thank you for sharing your experience on how school is different now – I found it to be really helpful 🙂

    • Lisa Porter at 11:20 am

      Also, God bless Denmark (my 24-year-old nephew lives there and when I offered to send him some masks he said no one’s wearing them and things seem close to normal) — there’s health care and officials seem to appreciate SCIENCE. I hope it continues to go well, even though there are ups and downs for both you and your son.

      We live in Austin, TX, and I’m not sending my kids back for the fall semester. Our school district has mandated distance learning for the first three weeks of school, flying in the face of truly asinine and political decisions by the state education association. I worry my kids (8, 6 and 6) will be falling behind and that they’ll miss out on so much, but in our case: (a) my husband and I can both work from home and I want people who can’t make that choice, including our beloved teachers, to have as safe an experience as possible, and (b) it’s Texas, where I cannot trust people to do the right thing re: masks and giving a d**n about other people.

      This is such a tough decision for everyone, and I respect the choices we all have to make.

  13. Holly Larson at 11:17 am

    As a teacher, I truly appreciate the thought you have put into making your decision. You weighed the pros and cons and did research in your area. I pray MOST families will do the same, for the sake of all of us.

  14. Amy at 11:31 am

    We had the same decision to make, and chose the opposite. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect your decision for your kids, though! In our case, our county has hundreds of new cases per day and the weekly positivity rate for the past couple of weeks has been upwards of 15%. The schools will require social distancing “when feasible” and will only require masks in the halls “and times when distancing isn’t feasible”. Our community has not been supportive of mask wearing, and has railed against the county mandate. I’ve seen social media posts of local teachers disregarding all guidelines and bragging about their refusal to comply. We also have some wonderful teachers who deeply care about keeping kids safe, but no guarantee which ones my kids will be assigned. (Side note: A lot of our teachers are going back to work but choosing virtual learning for their own kids. That feels like a big red flag to me.) Even with the high school’s hybrid plan, I just don’t believe anyone will be able to enforce distancing and mask wearing among teens who think they are invincible, especially when many have parents who have taught them that this whole thing is a “liberal hoax”. No ventilation upgrade, no temperature checks, and no clear plan (so far) for notification and quarantine procedures. We’ve been advised to not use the bussing system because there won’t be any way to distance or any extra staff to monitor mask usage. My kids are supposed to start 6th and 9th grades this year. Milestones for both. They are so disappointed and worried their friends will move on without them. I hated making this decision. I still believe it is the right one for us, for now, for our situation.

    • Wayne D. at 2:19 pm

      Both of my children made the same decision for the five grandchildren between the two families. They agonized over it, but decided it was right for them. They don’t criticize those who decided differently.

  15. kimmywendel at 11:55 am

    We are struggling with the same decision for our 4th grader here; our high schoolers will be learning from home. At the same time, I teach 7th and 8th grades in a neighboring district, and I will be forced to go back while at least 2 of our kids stay home, and possibly our youngest, too. You’re right there is no right choice right now.
    I guess what I want non-teaching parents to understand is that we’re all losing and sacrificing some things. We’re all going to have to lower the bar on our expectations for this year a little bit. Whether you choose to keep your kids home or to send them to school, their teachers will be learning how to teach kids in an alien environment (wearing masks, socially distant from kids, without manipulatives, kids seated in desks, facing forward, etc.). Their teachers have never taught in this way; there will be a dramatic learning curve as we figure out how to help them navigate the social-emotional challenges of this new world, as well as juggling the care of our own children and/or senior citizen parents.
    Long story short: we teachers would ask for parents’ patience, care, and empathy. I am bracing myself for the most challenging year of my 29 year teaching career and the most challenging year of my three kids’ lives.
    Peace.

  16. Heather Bennett at 11:55 am

    Best of luck to you! We have decided to keep ours home, even though the numbers here are really good. It just doesnt make sense to take the risk as my husband is 67 and retired. I also work from home. Maybe we will feel more comfortable in January, maybe not. The kids will be allowed to do sports, activities that are safe and some play dates. Again, we hope we are making the right decision. It is so scary right?

  17. hhale410 at 12:06 pm

    It’s such a hard decision!! I teach school and had several decisions to make. Kindergarteners are my people, and they are offered masks but we can’t make children that small wear masks. My 83 year old Mother is living with us, and I also have 2 children in 2 different areas of the school – one is in lower elementary, the other upper elementary. So we’re getting germs from the whole school into my car in the afternoons and then bringing it home to Nanna. All summer I tightened our belts, socked my summer checks into savings to see if we could keep our sphincters tight enough to last without my paycheck. I’ve watched the numbers go up (we’re mid-west), I’ve cried, I’ve talked with my principal (who has been an amazing and understanding rock), I’ve looked at my sweet mother’s eyes telling me not to give up my passion or calling for her (and cried harder). I keep the kids I have in my room for 3 years, so I know 2/3 of my children and their families well. Ultimately, I ended up resigning. The letter goes out to them on Monday letting them know they’ll have a new teacher. More tears! It sucks for all families! I know I’ll have understanding parents, and I also know I’ll have parents that think I’m being ridiculous. I had to take that out of the equation, which is hard to do. Follow your heart! Follow your kid’s heart! ❤️

  18. Bethany at 12:09 pm

    It’s such a crappy decision either way. We’ve decided the opposite but for the same reasons: the mental health of my kiddos. My daughter is 10 and already struggles with anxiety. In my state we don’t start school until September and she was already worried about accidentally breaking a distancing rule, and concerned kids wouldn’t wear masks. She told me i shouldn’t let her see her favorite person in the world ( her grandma) when school starts because she might give her germs. My kid should not be worried about that. So for our family, the option that preserves the mental health of my kiddos is to homeschool ❤️

    • Amy at 12:52 pm

      This is how my 11-yr-old is. There is no possibility that he would stay calm and cool when other kids (or authority figures) ignored the safety guidelines. He would wind up getting in trouble for expecting others to follow the rules, and he would be a constant bundle of nerves because of his worries.

  19. Jen Mierisch at 12:15 pm

    We’re in IL too and are still debating what to do for our 8yo and 11yo. I feel like no matter what we choose now, the inevitable outbreaks will send us all back to e-learning anyway. If I send my kids in the fall, at least they have a chance to establish a relationship with teachers and peers before the s**t hits the fan again. But I go back and forth on this daily, with one eye on the case rates.

  20. Bridget at 12:17 pm

    Thank you for posting this our school district hasn’t given our options yet, but unfortunately I have a compromised immune system am not sure if my son will be able to go back to school for 7th grade. I am ever so thankful for your honesty as one parent to another and you have given me much to think about thank you again!

  21. Erin at 1:37 pm

    We came to the same decision as you this week. We were planning on pulling my 7th grader from the tiny private school they go to and integrating him into the public middle School this year. I can’t do it. Our small school now has the benefits I didn’t think he was getting at a super small school being an almost teen. He can wait another year For the big social environment. He will be safe and I’m very happy with the schools plan. Very similar to what you described.

  22. Rebaby at 1:58 pm

    My family is in IL Chicago suburbs as well with a new kindergartner, 2nd, and new middle schooler (6th). We have both online or in-person options with masks for elementary and middle school. Our previous daycare has had 2-5 year olds wearing masks throughout the day since March – so though masks are a pain in the b**t for everyone, these preschoolers have managed masks all-day, so I have hope that elementary & middle schoolers can too. We’ve decided to send our kiddos in-person for now – to establish relationships with teachers, good habits and expectations in the new schooling world. In our district, to signup for online – the commitment is for a full quarter. Though selecting to attend in-person, at any time a family can decide to swap from in-person to online. So in-person is how we will begin. Time will tell how long our comfort level with the number of cases and safety measures last. I do believe we will end up transitioning to online learning sometime this winter.

  23. Carla at 2:25 pm

    We start August 24 and our district has not created a plan. They told parents they were going to start making their plan at the end of July. Our school doesn’t have the space, staff, or operational resources to accommodate this situation, so I’m curious as to what they are planning to do. I think younger kids will be generally okay health-wise, but I am concerned for the older adults who work in support staff roles in the facilities. I don’t think the experience the students will have in-person will be very social. The kids will be spaced apart, not working in groups, or able to hang out together.

    So many plans involve schools trusting parents not to send their kids sick. Parents send kids to school sick on non-pandemic years, so do we really expect anything different? I have staff at my work who have “forgot” to report they are on quarantine because they need the money. I am not naive to think that this isn’t going to happen in the schools.

    A lot of parents are stuck in a no-win situation because our economy (and livelihoods) are based largely on parents working while kids are in school. If schools have to close again, the options shouldn’t be choosing your job -or- the education of your child(ren).

    Numbers are skyrocketing in our area, we’re in an place that doesn’t believe in masking, and the health departments are overwhelmed and cannot keep up with contract tracing. It’s frightening, but the reality we need to consider when we have to make our decision.

    Best of luck to everyone right now. There are no “right” or “wrong” decisions. We’re all doing the best we can!

  24. JulieD at 2:40 pm

    I respect your decision and yes, it is a hard one. And I admire the time, thought and research you put into making it. You have my 100% understanding and support. I made the opposite decision for several reasons (compromised/at-risk health at home and among family/friends, protection of teachers/staff, and fears of likely escalation and “too late” reversals).

    But what really clinched virtual learning for me were two things…
    1) We’d have to be more cut off from our most important friends and family if he goes back to school – worse, missing Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, including my elderly mother and my brother with heart stents, and
    2) What I’m hearing from our teachers about classroom reality sounds very much like e-learning anyway, except done from one room, sitting at the same desk with a mask (only 3 feet apart in our school, yikes), all day, instead of e-learning from the comfort of home. No touching, no personal items, no creative teaching aids or accommodations. When I heard that so much of teachers’/kids’ normal movement and teaching/learning functionality, flexibility and materials will not be possible, and so much curriculum will have to be via computer at their desks anyway (no handouts, no books, etc), I thought, what’s the point, given the risks and sacrifices? Yes, they’d be in a room with friends – but my kid’s a very empathetic, huggy, hands-on friend – so I felt like it would be more agonizing and mentally/emotionally draining and crushing for him to be that close to his friends and teacher and not get to interact normally with them, than for him to continue doing what he’s gotten used to these past few months – interacting and playing online and having safe, smaller get-togethers with select friends with whom we share a bond of trust in guarding each other’s health. We can still do all of that, AND bonus, at home during schooltime he can have changes of scenery (e.g. rug-time or learning from his bean-bag or any room in the house), real books to read, take breaks with the dog, run around the house or outside, have a snack, chat with friends, and use our clean restroom or get a drink any time he wants (instead of keeping to a strict schedule to avoid contact with other classes in a hastily sanitized john, as school plans). At school he’d have no creature comforts AND a mask and a desk, period. Bottom line, I’m actually AVOIDING him being cut off from friends and family this way and the emotional anguish that would create. I’d rather have to ask him to wear a mask and social distance only part of the time, rather than all day, five days a week at school, sitting in a chair staring forward from a desk and essentially e-learning anyway. But that’s just me – I know this is hard for everyone and there are differences in every school district and family! Love to you and yours. 🙂

  25. Leah at 3:03 pm

    Fortunately, our district is doing a hybrid model so kids are half at school and half at home. Not ideal but nothing is these days. I will take that because, like you, my kids need to be around their peers and teachers. I think one thing that gives me some comfort is that younger kids aren’t really getting it and transmitting it so I’m hopeful that they can go to school and be safe, not just for themselves, but for teachers and staff. Now, I’ll probably change my thought process tomorrow and then freak out when some kid gets it but we have to make the best decision for our family, and this is it. You hit the nail on the head…there is no right decision and that’s what’s incredibly tough.

  26. Jen at 3:59 pm

    You are so lucky. For us masks will not be mandated and school officials said 3 ft apart is just as good as 6ft.

    They have not told us the details of what virtual learning will be. We have to make an appointment to talk to the school principals to find out.

    We are still deciding. My youngest,12, did not do well with on line learning I the spring. One of her friends keeps teasing her saying that if she doesn’t go back, people will say she’s a big baby, or a scaredy-cat libtard. My oldest, 14, suffers from depression.

    I have a suppressed autoimmune system. I’m sure I’d survive if getting it, although it may cost me a lot of money on medical bills.

    I’m at a loss

  27. Tina at 4:09 pm

    I wouldn’t rely on the socialization in school. There will be very little. Personally, I think it will greatly affect kids. Remember, 6 ft apart with masks on. Not so sure that is a conducive social setting. Lunch will be similar, depending on your school. My school will have partitions up, not clear to see through, so 4 kiddos to a table and no chance for socializing, just staring at a partition. Given this scenario, I would prob opt to keep my kids at home.

  28. Christina at 6:46 pm

    I loved this because I felt like I wasn’t alone. This email was my day today. All of the feelings on point for what we are going through sending ours back in 5 days a week. And I am an RN so my feelings are all over the place to begin with. You have a village with you don’t worry we are all in this together!!

  29. Deb at 8:21 pm

    Parents of young kids have a very hard choice to make. There is no “right” answer, and that had to have been a hard choice. You seem like a great mom who is doing her best to make great choice for her kiddos during a very difficult time, and you should be very proud of that. I’ll keep praying that the number stay put here in Illinois, I have two HS seniors, and a college freshman, so they made their own choices and I support all their tough decisions. Good luck!

  30. Kathy at 8:29 pm

    This is something we are dealing with right now, too. Our schools have three options that they have to make plans for and submit them to the commissioner. One, is full time back to school with safety measures in place (masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc. One, is in school for two days, a day at home remotely to clean the school and back for the last two days. And the last is remotely. I thought I had my mind made up. Back they go, they need to be around other people. I need them to be around other people. I thought I did. Then started thinking more. Will they need to be in masks if their desks are far enough apart? I don’t want them in masks all day long, do I? What if they get it? Then, there is the otherhother side. Can I handle another year being a teacher? I wasn’t trained for it. I love my kids, but a break for everyone is nice, too.
    Now, I’m not sure what to do

  31. Jamie M at 8:31 pm

    Also in Illinois here, with the same choice offered to us as well. I check the website and our zip almost every day, too. And I have an only child who hasn’t even spoken to another person under the age of 30 since March. She needs third party instruction, and has no patience for virtual learning, nor does she listen to me as a teacher, so off to school she goes. And of course since I decided it, I’ve been in a panic, wondering which of our family members will get sick because she brings it home. You are so right that no decision Is right, with this. We just have to be gentle with ourselves, and trust ourselves on it.

  32. Patti at 11:30 am

    In my school district, they are talking about half days of school with the other half online. Also complete online schooling if you don’t want to send your kids. Also if your kid has the “ I don’t see going ins” they can still do the school work online for the day and be counted not absent. Our absences are going to be very lax this year. As long as the school work gets done for the day, they won’t be absent. My husband and MIL wants the kids to stay home this year ( I have teens) but I know last year for the few months we HAD to do online schooling my kids nearly failed. The kids actually want to go back🤯 and because I know they will do better so do I. I know the district is doing a lot to make sure the kids are being protected.. but I also know that it’s not 100%. To boot both kids are diabetic… being an adult/parent is hard work on a normal day, during a pandemic, yuck.

  33. Lisa at 8:15 pm

    We have decided on online “distance” learning for our son. Thankfully our school district offers it. While we are concerned with the social aspect — my son is an only child — for us, the unknown aspect of this is just too much of a risk. I think as parents we have to go with our guts, and also with what is best for our situation. We are lucky — my son did phenomenally well with distance learning. While in-person instruction is ultimately better, he is only going into the 8th grade, so we don’t see that it will have as large of an impact long term. For us, we feel that there is not enough data on how this virus spreads among children. Children were sent home very early on in this pandemic. Unfortunately this has become a political situation where some people accept masks and some don’t. Therefore, we are concerned about other students (and parents) not following the rules. The first thing out of my son’s mouth was: ‘What about these bullies who are going to cough in my face?’ That kind of sealed it for me too. So we are going to take a “wait and see” approach. If things seem to go well, and there are no major outbreaks in the Fall, we’ll send him back for the Winter semester, or even sooner if it works out. (Right now my state has one of the lower infection rates.) Also we have made it clear that he will have to go back eventually, as long-term “distance” learning would turn into homeschooling, and I am not sure we could handle that!

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