"Should I Send My Kid Back to School?" A Covid-19 Decision all Moms are Pondering

covid-19 podcast Aug 11, 2020

It’s the question we’re all asking each other and agonizing over - “Should I send my kid back to school?”

Covid19 has turned our worlds upside down and figuring out the best course of action when it comes to school is no exception. As our schools are navigating the impossible task of pleasing everybody and scrambling to create the safest environment possible for our kiddos to go back, we’re all trying to figure it out as parents as well. 

In this episode I'm sharing the process I used to make the school decision. If you're still trying to decide what's best for your family then this episode is for you.



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Hey everyone, welcome back to the podcast. It’s just me, Katy, today because I wanted to talk about a hot topic on pretty much every parent’s minds right now. It’s the question we’re all asking each other and agonizing over and that’s “Should I send my kid back to school?”

Covid19 has turned our worlds upside down and figuring out the best course of action when it comes to school is no exception. As our schools are navigating the impossible task of pleasing everybody and scrambling to create the safest environment possible for our kiddos to go back, we’re all trying to figure it out as parents as well. 

The decision will vary depending on where you live, but where I am, in the suburbs of Chicago, we were given a couple of options. We basically had to choose a hybrid remote + partial in-person learning, or fully online. Regardless of which option you choose, everyone will be remote for at least the first 5 weeks of school. I am hearing similar options from friends who live elsewhere, so, many of you can probably relate to having to make that decision. 

 

This is so tough, you guys, and I’m right there with you in wanting to do what’s best for my kids. But here’s the thing, we all also have vastly different situations in regards to our own jobs and ability to be home with the kids should they not have school.  And every child is different in regards to their own needs. 

 

So this episode is not about me telling you "yes, you should send your kid back" or "no you shouldn’t." ONLY you can decide what’s best for your family. Instead, I wanted to walk you through the process my husband and I used to make our decision. 

 

The first thing I want you to do is get out a pen and a piece of paper. For this first step we’re going old-school with a good ol fashioned pros and cons list. 

 

I want you to first create a section on your paper for each option you’re weighing right now in regards to going back to school. So for mine I had Remote +, which includes some in-person instruction and then I also had Fully Remote Learning. Some of you may also be adding Homeschooling as an option and will be pulling your kids from enrollment altogether. Whatever your options are, get them all down on paper and create a pros list and a cons list for each option. Spend some time writing out ALL of the pros and cons for each option. 

 

There’s a second step I want you to take, though. Don’t just look at the number of pros and cons to make your decision. The second thing I want you to do is really take a look at everything you just wrote down. Is there anything that sticks out as a deal-breaker? For instance, I’m sure you have the chance your child will catch COVID as a con for sending him or her back to school. How do YOU feel about that? If you feel strongly that it’s a chance you don’t want to take, you have your answer and it’s a dealbreaker for sending them back. If you understand it’s a risk, but it isn’t dealbreaker status just leave it on the list. 

 

For some of you, your fully remote cons list may have no access to childcare on it because you have to work out of the house full time. Well, that may be the dealbreaker for you. So go over your lists and identify any dealbreakers. If you can’t find a solution for the dealbreaker, well, you know what to do about the school situation. 

 

If there are no dealbreakers per se on your list then you can go back and put weight on the number of pros vs cons to make your decision.

I know this might sound like pretty basic advice, but with so much overwhelm I think it is important to just get back to the basics and make a rational decision without letter fear guide you or what other families are doing. As I said, we all have unique circumstances and just need to do what’s best for our own families. 

 

If you’re having trouble coming up with pros and cons then you may need to do more research. There’s a good USA Today article from July 30th that breaks down the science that can help you make your decision. Here are a few highlights:

 

First and foremost, as most of us know by now, children CAN get covid-19. A study published in Science has shown that children under age 14 are between one-third and one-half as likely as adults to contract the virus. Around 7% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have been among children younger than 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, older Americans now represent a lower percentage of infections than they did at the start of the outbreak. Most schools around the country closed in March as the virus began to circulate more widely. That could explain why fewer children got sick.

 

The article also looks at what happens to kids when they get Covid-19 and notes that Severe impact from COVID-19 is rare for children – most recover within one to two weeks.

 

Some children have developed a multisystem inflammatory disorder, It’s a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

However, this complication is also rare. In addition, there are only 36 deaths among children under age 14 or 0.03% of total patients who died from COVID-19 nationwide, as of July 22

 

The next question the article explores is if Covid19 will spread in the classroom environment. The short answer is yes. There are recommended guidelines from the CDC to help prevent spreading in classrooms but yes, children could spread respiratory droplets to those around them and breathe in those droplets.  It is also possible to get the virus if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth after coming into contact with a contaminated surface. Students share toys, remotes, computers, restrooms, chairs, and travel in tight hallways, so yes, schools may facilitate the spread of the disease.

 

Another important topic the article touches on is if children transmit covid-19. Yes, they can. A study from South Korea has found that children younger than 10 transmit the novel coronavirus to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do. Researchers studying family clusters in several countries found that children were not likely to be patient zero in their households, and fond them to be responsible for around 10% of clusters.

 

You can find even more information from that article by following the USA TODAY link in the shownotes. I just wanted to share some of it with you to get your brain thinking for your pros and cons list. 

 

So once you do your research and make your pros and cons list, I’d love to hear where you land. No matter what your decision is in regards to sending your kid back to school or choosing remote please be sure not to judge other families should they make a different decision than you do. We’re all in this together and no two situations are the same. 

If you need any support during this time and are searching for ways to create a new normal in your home that works for your unique situation, I’d love to help you out. Schedule a free consultation call and we’ll talk it out and I’ll coach you through making decisions that you’ll feel good about for your family. I’ll leave my calendar link in the shownotes as well so you can book your free call. Also, feel free to join me over in the Motherhood Aligned Facebook group! I’ll be sharing what my school decision was over there. Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you soon. Bye!

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