Another new change has been proposed to the school systems during the COVID-19 epidemic. Because of the rising cases, school officials have been reluctant to make a decision about their plans for the fall. Others are playing it safe and announced their intention: Virtual School.
Cases of COVID have been on the rise as restrictions began to be lifted. While many hoped we would be on the tail end, we are still amidst the battle. With that said, new cases are being diagnosed by the thousands daily. Because of the spike in cases, many school systems have decided to limit children in their buildings as much as possible. Like we said in the last piece, some schools are offering hybrid or reduced capacities to keep our kids safe. But others are taking little chances and offering online schools.
What Does This Mean?
Children won’t be homeschooled or on their own, but they will lack the normal classroom encounters. Teachers will provide the materials for the children and teach via an online platform. Children will have video lessons, online meeting apps, and email.
Resources will be sent to children online or some school systems are offering in-person drop-off. Here in VA, our local school system drops off school supplies weekly along with free meals for children. These are filled out with the children and their teachers during lessons.
Because of the online environment, there is a lot of interaction from parents. Parents will be the ones responsible to make sure kids are at the lesson on time, grade their assignments, layout the resources, and still provide part-time schooling since the online experience isn’t a full-time thing for the kids.
Schools have been able to provide some of the classes, learning time, and resources for the children. However, they aren’t teaching the kids full-time like parents are used to. Not only does this place a lot of stress on parents, especially those who struggled academically themselves, but also from a childcare perspective. Previously, kids were supervised and safe from 8-3 every day, allowing parents to work and pay for after school if needed. Now, full-time care options are needed for younger kids later. This is an added expense and worries to parents that are already struggling with schooling and their own work as well. While our kids always come first, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
For parents that are struggling, whether it be from the added expense of childcare or a loss of work, this also means that their kids may not be getting meals that they are used to. In many areas, it causes a loss of sleep to families that are already hurting. As I said above, in my area, schools are sending food to kids- free of charge. Some schools deliver via the bus 1-3 times a week, while other more rural schools allow parents to come and pick up the free meals for their families to ease the burden.
Another large downfall is the added costs of school to the parents. No longer are schools giving kids art supplies or learning materials. Parents are the ones buying the arts and crafts, the pencils, the paper, and any additional resources (example worksheets or activities that the school systems have access to or books for reading). This places the burden on parents to ensure the kids have everything they need.
Look to the Positives
While there are many downfalls to the online school, there are some things that are definite pluses. For one, the lowered risk of infection for your child. Social distancing and limiting their exposure to people do lower their chances to catch COVID. While you can control who comes to your home and is around your family, do you trust that all parents are practicing these guidelines? By doing online school, the kids are safer at home rather than in a cesspool- have you seen a kindergarten or preschool class?!
Another big plus, especially to the parents of younger kids- no stressful hygiene worries. There’s a lot less stress about making sure your little one keeps on their mask, washes their hands, and keeps their hands to themselves when they aren’t around other kids. Teaching online means that the in-person recommendations that the schools are doing in person aren’t needed as they aren’t around the other kids. While this is a big negative for older kids that miss their friends, other parents of young kids like myself are relieved that their kid won’t be fighting their mask all day and keeping their hands to themselves.
Finally, a big plus for all is the flattening of the curve. Opening schools offers a great opportunity for kids. It also introduces children to all the exposures that we worked so hard to keep them from. Having a sudden opening where children are exposed could cause massive spikes in cases. Children’s hospitals would be overwhelmed and unable to help all the sick kids in this instance. If you think the shortage of medical supplies is bad, the shortage of kid’s supplies is even worse than your nightmares.
- Side note: there is already a lack of facilities that can handle kids’ illnesses- Pediatric ICUs and monitoring can be out of reach for many areas because of the high costs to provide the service. It’s a whole other battle that has been fought for decades.
So preventing this at any cost, saving as many children and preventing them from not only fighting for their lives or suffering through the flu on steroids, keeping them from having the life-long repercussions such as scarring to the lungs- is worth it to many. Are you willing to bet on whether there will be a bed for your kid at the local hospital?
While there are a lot of risks to letting them go back or keeping them home, there are always two sides to the coin. While some schools are deciding to stay closed and remain online, they pose undue hardships on families. But opening up puts the entire population at risk and causes the already stressed and limited resources of kid’s medical supplies to be stretcher further.
There is no right answer, but we are all trying to do what we think is best for our kids.
Comment down below, where do you stand? Do you want the kids back in class? Or are you leaning towards the online environment? What are you doing for your family? Any recommendations to others?