After posting about one mom’s plan to opt for hybrid learning this fall (as well as my own plan to send one kid back remote and the other in-person), we got a lot of varied feedback. Most readers were incredibly supportive and said that there is no one right answer— everyone has to make the best choices for their family. Others questioned whether this should be a personal choice or one for the greater good. Is going back to school in-person irresponsible based on rising case numbers and evidence of outbreaks when schools have reopened?
My personal opinion is that there are so many individual factors going into each of these decisions that is very hard to judge others right now. We are not just talking about health. We also have to take into account economic security, mental stability, learning disabilities, support systems, school resources, location, parent occupations, age of the kids, etc. etc. You will never know the full picture of what went into each family’s school decision.
That being said, I do not want anyone to think that my blog is pushing for one agenda over another. I wanted to share a variety of decisions that parents have made for their kids for the upcoming school year, and let them explain their reasoning.
18 Parents Share their Decisions for the Upcoming School Year
1) “We chose all remote for the first half of the year. Was it an easy choice? Heck no. But we have grandparents as our main babysitters and my husband and I needed to mitigate the risk if we could. Not everyone is in the same boat and we all just need to help each other stay afloat.” – Mrs. Clay
2) “Our children have gone back, but we don’t live in the United States. WHAT a change in their emotional health and energy levels. It has been a breath of fresh air, and we feel comfortable with the very clear and sensible safety protocols.” – Resa
3) “Our school offered remote or in-person. We opted for remote, but since my daughter was a shitshow on Zoom last spring, I got together with a few other working parents to do virtual learning together. She’ll be virtual learning alongside four of her friends, switching who hosts so that the parents have time off. We also pooled our money to get a private tutor, who will be with them during the school day to help with the workload offered by the school and hopefully keep them engaged during their zoom classes. I hope it works!” – Andrea
4) “We were supposed to do hybrid. Then the school went all online, so we found a private preschool and kindergarten for our kids that is in-person five days. I can only weigh the costs/benefits for my family, not other people. Each family is a little different. If grandma lived with us or if we were higher risk, the kids would not be in school.” – Cheryl
5) “I am currently teaching remotely and have two small children at home. We have some serious concerns about sending our children back to school and I was relieved that enough of our school population wants to remain online for the time being so I can remain at home. It’s all impossibly hard, managing a full online classroom and small people’s education as well. My husband has really stepped up and does most of the day time teaching for our kids, then goes to work after lunch. I miss when work and home were different, but I’m grateful to be able to have the freedom to make the choices we feel are important for our situation. I don’t envy anyone’s choices at this time. It’s all hard.” – Cass
6) “I have two boys: an 8th grader and a 5th trader. One is struggling so much with distance learning that every day, I feel like I’m failing him as I try to juggle working from home, helping him and his brother, and keeping the house from imploding. I wish I could sign a waiver and get him into a classroom. Even just for a class or two, or a day or two. We are a family who takes this pandemic seriously (we have aging grandparents with health issues) but I would send my boy to school tomorrow, if it was an option. He needs it. Hang in there everyone. Know that whatever decision you make for your family is the right decision for your family. There is no rule book for this situation. Stay healthy, love the ones near you, and be kind: to yourself and others.” – Amanda
7) “We’re doing hybrid. My 8th grader just went back Monday. They do half days, 5 days/week. She’s AM so 7:35 – 10:45am. I’ll admit, the night before school started, we were nervous. I shower cried. But the district has been amazing, and the smile on my daughter’s face after the first day told me that we have made the right choice for us.” – Elizabeth
8) “Right now I am teaching middle school virtually and in person simultaneously. Meanwhile, my second grader has to start virtually. He comes to school with me and sits at my desk to complete his virtual school, while I teach my students. He will go back in person soon, because unfortunately, having him at my workplace is not sustainable. I make it work because I have no choice.” – Kendall
9) “Most of our friends are opting for remote learning, but our son was recently diagnosed with a learning disability that made virtual learning at home last spring pretty impossible. He is switching to a special ed school that will be opening in-person. I know there is risk involved in sending him, but I am honestly more scared for what it would mean for his development if we had to teach him at home.” – Lauren
10) “Best thing I’ve ever done for my son (9) is keeping him home. He’s doing virtual and he’s getting all As so far! He has ADHD and working one-on-one with him has helped tremendously. When he doesn’t have focus, or needs more time to do an exam, I can get him back on task. His teachers had 20 kids in class and couldn’t give him the help he needed, but I can at home. My daughter (11), on the other hand, is struggling. The transition into JHS has been hard for her. We’re trying to help her, but she’s in hybrid (virtual learning through her classroom with the teachers and students). She would do better in school and he’s the opposite. We’re hoping that next year she can return.” – Honey
11) “My oldest is doing virtual per our public school system. Our middle is in a small private given his constellation of needs. The toddler is running wild. There are lots of challenges with this split approach, but I am hopeful. It’s the best we can do for our kids under these circumstances.” – Nicole
12) “My girls attend a Catholic school and we just started our second week of in-person instruction (5 days a week, full day). We were anxious about sending them back, but our school has a very detailed plan in place and the kids adapted immediately to wearing masks (among other new safety protocols). Who knows how long in-person will last, but they are both SO HAPPY to be back in the classroom, which makes my husband and I happy, too.” – Anne
13) “I have a college student living at home (thankfully his college is local) taking all online classes, except Wednesdays on campus for two classes with masks and social distancing. My freshman high schooler will start hybrid— two days in-person and three days online. I don’t know how long in-person will last. We are in the Midwest and wearing a mask is heavily debated with no statewide mandate. Our family wears masks and we are doing our best to prevent catching it. I suffer OCD and strict hand washing is my thing. I used to pray my kids wouldn’t be like me, but now I think it’s benefited all of us. I want to see us all thru this, alive and well.” – Heather
14) “My two elementary school children have transitioned to in-person after two weeks of virtual. My oldest is in 6th grade and we have decided to stick with remote learning for now. It was the hardest decision, but we will adapt to any changes that come our way. This generation will be the most go-with-the-flow generation ever.” – Jessica
15) “I worked together with a group of parents in my neighborhood to set up a homeschooling pod with about 15 kids and three teachers. We all pulled our kids out of their schools to do this and will split the cost of the teachers. It will be in-person, five days a week, with 3-5 kids in a class, so super small. Everyone is signing a document that lists our pod’s Covid Rules, so we all agree to follow. They will quarantine before school starts, get tested if they travel, wear masks in public, that sort of thing. Had you told me this would be my plan in March, I would have laughed at you!” – Autumn
16) “My kids have been back since the beginning of August (in person) and it has been so good for them. I was anxious (still am) but the schools have been so careful and so far, so good. I want them to be able to go back for at least a little while, after so long being out of school. Maybe it will last, maybe it won’t.” – Emma
17) “We are in eastern Washington. Cases are going up in our area, but not drastically. We have been very vigilant thus far and pretty strict about staying home. The biggest difference for us is that we are considering this a long-term situation. For us, that means figuring out how we can sustain safety long-term. We will be homeschooling our Kindergartener, but are working to figure out how to safely enroll our Pre-K and Kindergarten kid in a small outdoor preschool so they can get some socialization that they have desperately missed since March. We know these things do increase our risk, but we are finding ways to be as safe as possible while planning how to survive this for the next year, until a vaccine is released.” – Cortney
18) “Such hard decisions. I’m still questioning the choice we made for our kids. Nothing feels exactly right. I’m hoping that our kids come out of the 2020-2021 school year more flexibility, empathy, and resilience than I ever thought possible.” – Kate
If you want to read about my personal plan, you can do so here. What have you decided for your kids for the upcoming school year?