Summer is in full swing, but that doesn’t mean that parents aren’t already thinking about the fall.
Most states across the U.S. closed schools for the end of the 2019-2020 academic year amid the coronavirus pandemic. With in-person classes cancelled, millions of students wrapped up the year doing their school work from home.
It was fine, but I know that many working parents who aren’t used to homeschooling have really been looking forward to virtual school coming to a close. But, will kids be sitting in classrooms in a couple of months?
As cases nationwide continue to rise, parents are nervous about sending kids back to school in the fall. Many are wondering if it’s even safe to send their kids back into classrooms, as COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S.
There isn’t, of course, a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. There certainly isn’t a risk-free option, either. The best we can do as parents is to assess the risks, and make the decision that we feel is best for our own families.
AAP Warns of Risks Associated With Continued Remote Learning
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is pushing for students to be physically present in schools, rather than continuing remote learning — for the sake of their well-being.
“The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” the AAP said on its website.
According to the AAP, which represents and guides pediatricians across the country, the evidences shows the academic, mental, and physical benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks from the coronavirus.
“Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation,” the AAP site reads.
But How Will In-Person Classes Affect the Virus’ Spread?
Of course, going back to schools physically presents serious challenges when it comes to keeping kids from contracting the virus.
Especially with younger children, it can be nearly impossible to keep everyone 6 feet away, or keep kids from touching their faces. Children are still learning good hand hygiene, and there’s no way to enforce face coverings.
Not to mention, classrooms weren’t built for social distancing. It could prove extremely difficult to even find the space to keep kids at a safe distance from each other, even older children sitting at desks for most of the day.
These hurdles could make it extremely difficult to quell the spread of COVID-19 among schools — resulting in large community outbreaks.
And while some officials note that children are less likely to become extremely sick from the virus than adults, they can still be asymptomatic carriers. That means that they could bring the coronavirus home to elderly or immunocompromised family members.
So, really, there isn’t a definitive answer on whether or not we should be sending our kids into the classrooms at this point.
Each child and each family is different, and the pros and cons may weigh differently in each situation. And either way, there isn’t a risk-free solution.
Like I said: the best we can do as parents is to assess the risks, and make the decision that we feel is best for our own families at this point.