School and sports. Both trending topics and both equally important to a child’s development. As we approach the official start date of fall sports and the first day back to school since COVID-19 shut down most of the country, we find ourselves facing some difficult decisions. And as if that isn’t bad enough, there is shaming occurring on both sides of the fence. On one hand, the desire to keep a student home for remote learning receives backlash for embracing the “hysteria” and on the other hand, wanting to send kids to school full-time for in-person learning, to some, indicates a parent doesn’t care about the health and wellbeing of their own student and that of others. Throw in the heated debate about how sports can be safe when most schools are developing hybrid plans that include some form of learning through cyber means and we are only creating a world in which parents (and students) are fearful to take the next step.
The truth is, when it comes to education, what’s important is that students are actively engaged and learning. Educators know that this is more likely to take place in a classroom setting, but we are in the middle of a health situation that has never been faced by most individuals who are alive today. It is not the teacher’s fault, the parent’s fault, the politician’s fault or the student’s fault that we are in our current situation. Pandemics have been occurring for as long as time and today’s decision-makers are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place. Educators are doing their very best to adjust to a unique situation and we must trust that they will find the very best ways to educate our students.
What would help is if we remove the divide that is causing the underlying current of hatred and animosity that has created an unhealthy situation across the country. We must stop the shaming and accept and respect the individual decisions of one another. As Americans receive updates on a rapidly changing situation, we must allow others the freedom to choose what is right for their own unique situation. As with anything in life, we simply don’t know what goes on behind closed doors for anyone we come across. If we can move forward together, looking out for one another and providing respect and understanding, perhaps we can put an end to the spread of COVID-19 and still remain friends.
A few things to consider when deciding the best course of action for your student includes:
His or her age – Younger students will have a harder time learning from home, but it isn’t impossible.
Household situation – At-home learning may not be possible for younger students who come from a home in which both parents are employed out of the house.
Underlying conditions – Students who have underlying conditions may need to ease back into in-person learning at a slower pace than other students. The health and wellbeing of older adults who may reside at the home or provide care should also be considered.
Learning disabilities – Students who have a learning disability may have a more difficult time learning from home.
Current case counts – If current cases of COVID-19 make you uneasy, maybe at-home learning is the best option until things change.
School district plan – Does the plan aim to stop the spread of COVID-19? Does it include masks and social distancing? Are you confident that administrators will adhere to these guidelines?
The point is, all of the above could be different for every unique student, parent and household. Let’s allow one another to make the best decisions for both the physical and mental health of all involved.