Many parents are apprehensive about sending their precious little ones and even teenagers back to school this Fall and I believe I am familiar with some of their reasons why, so let's just get right to it.
With ever-changing CDC guidelines and recommendations, continued local spikes in cases, and hospitals being overwhelmed, parents may find it eases their anxieties to make the decision to join an on-line program (virtual or a k-12 program) rather than wait to see if the school will start, only to be shut down for cleanings or switched to on-line learning altogether. By making plans for on-line learning, parents can prepare to stay home with their kids or find adequate supervision. Fortunately, some parents have children old and responsible enough to remain home while they continue to work.
According to the CDC, almost half of Americans live with hypertension, the most prevalent diagnosis among Covid-19 deaths. And as of 2017, 1 in 25 children had been diagnosed with high blood pressure. This alone makes many parents consider keeping children home, if they live with someone who comprises the 45% or an elderly individual. For example, the 2.5 million grandparents who are raising their school-aged grandchildren. These reasons are enough to make anyone apprehensive, but there are a plethora of other prevalent health conditions that plague our nation and contribute to Covid-19 deaths or serious illness: diabetes, asthma, heart conditions or disease, etc.
Personally, my decision to do virtual schooling was to protect my immune-compromised eight year-old and my husband, who is part of the high-risk group for a few reasons. Leaving my children to bear the burden of following all the guidelines to ensure their younger sister's safety seemed unreasonable.
Using the updated 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Clinical Practice Guideline , a CDC study shows that about 1 in 25 youth ages 12 to 19 have hypertension, and 1 in 10 has elevated blood pressure (previously called “prehypertension”). High blood pressure is more common in youth with obesity."
Nearly half of adults in the United States (108 million, or 45%) have hypertension defined as a systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 80 mm Hg or are taking medication for hypertension. Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control.."
Across the United States, more than 13 million children are living in homes with their grandparents. This means that 2.5 million grandparents every day are taking on the responsibilities required to raise these children."
While typically parents trust that schools will do everything in their power to keep students safe, they can only do so much AND sometimes personal and political beliefs surrounding COVID-19 and mitigating measures interfere with the faculty and staff's want to rules and guidelines. Additionally, if leadership does not follow or require strict adherence to guidelines, employees are likely to follow suit. As someone who works in the education and has many teacher associates, I've heard it all. And sometimes I'm still shocked by the things I hear.
" I would wear a mask if everyone else did."
" If I get sick, there's no way I'm going to get tested and be another number."
"I wish the governor would just move us to phase 3 so we wouldn't have to do all this."
"I believe the president, these mask aren't needed."
"Oh, come in.... you don't need to wear that thing."
Unfortunately, the parent who smiles at the front office probably will not trust their school to care for their child if they feel employees act according to their personal beliefs OR if they presume the staff break rules regularly. All employees have a responsibility to act in the best interest of the organization, in any business.
4. The Experience....
Let's just say your child attends one of the few schools following the mitigating guidelines to perfection, while that may ease your mind on safety, who wants their child to endure that? Especially, if you have the resources to keep your child at home. A mask, the one-way signs and footsteps positioned 6ft apart on the floors, desk shields, decreased movement and interactions with peers, a stressed teacher, and hours stuck in one classroom. While all necessary and warranted, it just doesn't sound appealing AND definitely not something many care to have their precious little ones endure. All making it easier to say, "let's figure out a way to just stay home and learn".
With that being said, many parents are able to send their children to school without concerns for their or members' of their household health. This is good news for children who are desperate for a sense of normalcy and socialization. Even in that desperation, some kids and teenagers are apprehensive, needing guidance from parents or school personnel to ease their fears and provide best practice information. If you are sending your child back to school this fall please consider the following discussion topics:
1. I know we have chosen to return to school as normal, but do you have any worries? These are my worries as a parent.
(Your child may be concerned about the loss of a normal extracurricular activity or sports season, how to stay safe and sanitize, not attending school every day, a family member that could get sick, etc. It's also important to discuss parental worries surrounding returning to school and effects of Covid-19 regulations.)
2. Although we are returning to school, there is a chance that we may
have to convert to virtual at some point and it may interrupt some of your normal school activities. While it is out of our control, we can talk about how we will handle it and get a game plan for other appropriate activities we can do as a family.
(Talk about the requirements for being exposed and quarantine measures that must be taken by students and teachers.)
3. I have printed out the new guidelines for the school year, let's make sure we understand them.
(Go over the mask requirements, temperature checks, social distancing, cell phone policies, etc.)
4. Let's talk about how things will look!
(For younger children, this can be overwhelmingly different and being proactive by discussing this whole new world, it can help the teacher tremendously acclimate her students to the environment)
I hope this helps to bridge the gap of understanding between those who choose not to send their kids to school, those who do, and educators and administrators. It's important to remember that our attitude regarding anything shapes how we see and respond to everything. As a community, we can get through this and support one another without judgement. Remember, this a small price to pay in comparison to those who don't have to opportunity to follow any guidelines due to their passing away. Be safe and helpful, be strong, be compassionate, be understanding and optimistic.... be HUMANITY.
My name is Frankie Reed-Shaw. I am a wife and mother of three. I love all things creative, especially writing thought-provoking pieces. I embarked on my journey of blogging about growth, maturity, and SPIRITUAL concepts about two years ago. My passion is expressing challenging ideas in hopes that myself, and others, engage in consistently thinking outside the box and strive to live a most authentic life, free of constraints. Don't be shy, feel free to comment your life experiences and wisdom on any post.