Many of our suburban schools are making plans to reopen their classrooms this month to students, five months after they hastily closed to help keep kids, staff and families safe at home away from the confounding coronavirus.
I am still hearing a lot of families — and teachers — struggling with how they feel about in-person learning until there’s a proven vaccine.
We’re all eager for our kids to get back to a normal life — and ourselves back to work as we knew it, of course. But some parents are questioning whether it really will be safe despite the precautions the schools say they have in place. Others worry about the loss of socialization, impacts on kids’ mental health and the actual learning taking place if kids don’t go back to the classroom.
What’s the right choice?
I wish I had a crystal ball to help you decide. Ultimately, you need to trust in yourself to make the right decision for your family.
I’m in the same boat. My youngest, Zoe, is headed to college this month smack dab in a coronavirus hotspot state. Zoe isn’t worried. I am, but hopeful these long months of training on how to avoid the coronavirus will serve her well. As of right now, most of her classes are scheduled to be in person. Other parents of freshmen at the university are making another choice, pulling their kids out, forcing a gap year or enrolling them at a school closer to home.
My middle daughter, Arlee, attends college downstate, where there has been a much lower spread since Illinois has been on top of flattening the curve. We’re still waiting to see what her fall semester will look like, but she’s definitely worried about going back to campus.
With so much uncertainty about what the school year would look like when we sat down to create this month’s issue, traditionally our big back-to-school issue, we thought it might help everyone to find out how to check your family’s digital fitness. With e-learning still included in many schools’ reopening plans, it’s a good thing to do right now. You’ll find tips on how best to support your little learners. I know I learned a few things I should have been doing all along.
I wish you a successful school year, no matter what it looks like for your family.
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This editor’s note appeared in Chicago Parent’s August 2020 magazine.