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The Difficult Decision Not to Send My Kids Back to School During COVID-19

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These last four months have been filled with enough stress and anxiety to make me want to run away and hide. I have been at home with three kids who are crawling the walls and trying to keep up with work. I haven’t had a day off from my job in 166 days, but who’s counting? I was looking forward to my kids going back to school this fall and getting back to a normal schedule. At one point there was a little glimmer of hope that this was going to happen. But as new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise here, there and everywhere, that hope is quickly slipping away. For weeks, I have been struggling with the decision to send my kids back to school, going over the pros and cons in my head numerous times. Today, I made my final decision. I opted for 100% distance learning for my kids this school year.

I thought about my kids’ safety and the possible exposure to coronavirus they would endure on a daily basis. They each attend a different school building within the district, causing me triple the worry. Sending them will ensure they may not see their grandparents or their cousins until sometime next summer. I thought about the possibility of them contracting this virus and how sick they may or may not become. What if they give it to me or my husband? Where does that leave us if one or both of us should become gravely ill?

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I thought about how my kids would react when I told them we will be learning from home, again. They need to see their friends. They need instruction in a classroom setting. I worry I am making the wrong decision. I worry about what this is doing to their mental health. I worry their education will fall behind.

I thought about the teachers, the staff and the bus drivers. I thought about the kids who must attend school and the parents who must go to work. I thought if I am able to stay home, I may be helping out those that have no other choice than to go to school.

Not one bit of news regarding COVID-19 is headed in the right direction. I thought about how the number of cases we had here in Ohio last March compared to now. On the day the governor ordered schools to close, there were 712 cases of COVID-19 in Ohio. We are now over 80,000.

We are at the mercy of our superintendent and the teachers to protect our children. I have complete trust that my district is doing everything they can to safely bring our kids back to school. But there are too many what-ifs, too much uncertainty, too much at stake.

Last spring I was literally praying for distance learning to end. To say it was a struggle would be an understatement. Come this fall, I see no other way. Other than trying our best to keep our kids safe and healthy, there is no right or wrong choice we can make as parents right now. One day, this pandemic will come to an end and this will be in the past, but for now, we must make the choice that is best for our family.

For more on parenting during quarantine, check out the following stories from our community:

Getty image by Jovanmandic.

Originally published: July 26, 2020
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