With the reopening of school approaching, I can’t lie, I’m scared AF! As a parent, it is my job to keep my babies educated and safe. I’m very concerned about how my children will get the proper education they need inside a potentially unsafe environment.
Even though New Orleans has decided to start the school year off in phase one, which is 100% virtual, I still have my concerns for when we hit phase two and they want our kids to come back into the classroom. How will teachers keep a class of 5-year-olds focused while wearing a mask? How will teachers keep them from wanting to hug their friends? How will they keep them socially distanced on the playground? There’s just so much uncertainty and until those questions are answered, I don’t feel comfortable with sending my babies back.
I wanted to know from other parents in New Orleans how they were feeling about the possibility of sending their kids back to school. Here are a few responses I’ve received when I asked… “Hey parent, how are you feeling about this year?”
My own answer: I’m already preparing my liver for the amount of wine I will be consuming.
L. Coleman, Mother of two, is very concerned about her kids progress during distance learning:
I am a parent of two kids and I am not sure if I am ready for them to return to school this fall. I have been thinking about this issue since COVID took over in March, and we are not ready. I attended a parent Zoom call which confirmed that the parents and teachers are not ready for schools to reopen. I have a daughter in a gifted program at Benjamin Franklin and I am concerned about her progress this year.
The students really did not get any learning accomplished in the year of 2020. The distance learning did not work well for us. I was busy working and they were not focused on learning with all of the distractions in the house. Everything happened so quickly with COVID, I did not have the time to voice my concerns with the school.
My back is against the wall right now because I am almost positive that I will have to return back to the office this fall full-time. If my kids go to school this fall, it is out of necessity for me to keep going with my career and the same for my husband.
My three-year-old is on a waiting list to attend pre-K this fall. I am anxious about her wearing a mask at school. I just do not think it is realistic.. As an adult, I am unable to wear one for an extended period. We will not be ready to take this course of action until we get a vaccine. If a second wave hits, we will need to rethink the plan of reopening schools this fall. If distance-learning is their only option, I will deal with it.
I hope and pray that our school systems make the right decisions. Today, we are facing a crisis. This won’t last forever. Educated and well thought out decisions need to be made by community leaders. The risk of exposure and more deaths should be a primary concern for the decision-makers in the school systems.
At the end of the day, we are parents, teachers, guardians, aunties, uncles, and grandparents of the children. We are all stakeholders. The citizens should be of greatest concern when making decisions about reopening schools this fall.
M. Bagneris is a mother and an educator. She is very concerned for the safety of others
As an early childhood educator for over a decade as well as being a parent to a 6-year-old, I understand immensely that there is no substitute for in-person learning at this age especially. That being said, I don’t want to risk my health, my daughter’s health, or the health of the other numerous families I will come into contact with by returning to school too soon. We still have a very limited scope of understanding when it comes to this virus. Parents and educators need to be prepared and be understanding of the very real and perhaps necessary decision to delay school openings and begin schooling virtually for the sake of our public health that must take precedence.
G. Deruise, mother of 3 boys who hopes for a hybrid model of learning
I’m definitely concerned that it’s too soon for the kids to go back to traditional learning. I hope the schools will at least keep things sanitized and hopefully try and push the hybrid model of learning, which entails having two groups of kids and rotate them in and out of the classrooms to ensure social distancing and if someone turns up positive, you can easily identify which kids have been exposed to that child or teacher.
T. King, mother of 3 boys plans to send her boys back to school in person (she does not live in Orleans Parish)
When I think about my kids going back to school I have such mixed emotions. I just don’t think there is one answer that is right for everyone. For us, we are sending our kids back to their school in person. I am unsure how this year will look or progress but for now, we are going to start the school year and see how it develops. We also have a plan B if in-person school doesn’t work for us. As a mom, I feel like my job is to stay upbeat and excited as I know I set the tone for my kid’s attitudes toward school. We are hoping for the best and preparing as best we can for anything else 2020 is going to throw at us.
T. Mole, mother of 2, has no choice but to send her kids back to school once phase one is complete. She will also be in the classrooms.
What do we do in such uncertain times? I want my kids to go back to school but I am very very nervous. The numbers of cases are steadily rising. The school has assured us that they are taking every possible precaution and I guess I have no choice but to trust the process because I am required to go back to work as well. Parents do have the option to keep kids home but that is not an option when mom is an educator as well. However, my kids will be wearing masks. I will also provide them with a small hand sanitizer and gloves for their pocket. I am going to teach my kiddos what to and not to do as well as what to avoid. I have invested in immune boosters and lots of prayers. I truly believe we will be back in phase 1 again but until then I am reluctantly sending them.
A. Casborn is a mother of 2 who worries about the mental wellbeing of her kids during this stressful time.
I would say that I’m actually torn about my kids going back to school. My worry is of course for their physical health and well being but I’m also concerned about their mental health. My kids need socialization, but I want them to be safe while socializing! There are so many factors that go into making these decisions as educators and as parents, I don’t really have a clear cut answer. My children are going back to school because their school has a plan that I’m ok with AT THIS TIME and I have to go back to work. Honestly, my thoughts and feelings about going back to school are just as fluid as this awful situation!
As you can see we are all concerned about sending our kids back to school. I don’t think any of us are fully prepared for the challenges we will be facing this year. But, I know the love we have for our kids will help guide us.