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By Cheryl Bac

Tough back-to-school decisions

Uploaded: Aug 10, 2020

This summer we were able to make a lot of short-term decisions for our kids. Do we feel comfortable going to the dentist this week? Do we feel comfortable taking a day trip to the beach over the weekend? Do we want to try a virtual class next week? And most of our choices could be changed if we started feeling more or less comfortable.

With the return to school, it is overwhelming to make choices that will affect our kids‘ learning and friendships for an extended period of time.

For both preschool and elementary school, we were able to tour schools before our kids attended. We saw the schools in action or heard very detailed descriptions paired with photos of the kids’ daily routine. We talked with parents who had kids at the schools. It was very comforting to see other kids happy, attentive and eager to learn. I could picture our children similarly engaged and enjoying the programs.

I think most of us parents have our own ideal scenarios for back to school. Some may want to see in person and distance learning in action at our specific schools before committing to either for an extended period of time. Some may want to see how their child handles distance learning before deciding how quickly they would like them to switch to in person learning when it is available. And some may want to let the school get into a routine with in person learning before committing to it. And some may want more flexibility about when they are able to switch from distance to in person and back to distance learning if needed.

I know there are many reasons why an ideal scenario is just not possible right now. But it is frustrating to hear the overwhelming decisions parents are making about the upcoming school year. Select to send your kids back to school when in person learning is an option (but not know exactly when that will be). Make a decision about distance vs in person learning for the entire school year.
Or have the option to change your mind at select times during the school year not knowing if a place will be available at your local school.

This is a very stressful time for everyone. There are a lot of unknowns and a lot of changing information. It’s clear that many schools have been working extremely hard this summer to come up with the best in person and distance learning programs that they can. But I hope that once school begins this fall and they see those plans in action, both parents and kids are given as much information, compassion, and flexibility as possible to make this year as positive, safe and engaging as it can be.


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