Return to school
February 8, 2021
Heading back to the classroom would allow children to see their peers and return to hands-on learning, but it’s important to consider the potential downsides. Beyond potentially spreading COVID-19, rushing the return process may lead to non-viral consequences such as anxiety or trust issues among students.
For instance, Dominguez’s sixth-grade nephew struggled with the return to school due to the unpredictability of another closure. A couple of days after his elementary school opened for in-person learning, students were sent back home because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“I would keep kids home,” Dominguez said. “Right now, they’re in a familiar place at home, and although lacking in interactions, it’s stable. If they go to school and somebody gets the virus, they’re back home for three weeks. It’s just constant disruption, which is more damaging for children.”
When doing virtual learning, kids who don’t receive as much attention and interaction from their immediate family as they would from their friends and teachers at school are struggling to keep up with their online schoolwork and social life.
The return to school doesn’t just affect the students, though. As a result of both work and life happening in the same area — with kids trampling over the already blurred line between the two, many working parents are awaiting their children’s return to physical school. In some large families, parents have had to juggle supervising multiple children, while also acting as an educator for their kids who are having (technical) difficulties with online school.
Despite this difficult transition to distance learning, some families have grouped together in pods to provide their children with regulated social interaction. It also gives parents the opportunity to divide and conquer, offering a welcome reprieve from constantly supervising their children. Some parents also use these “pandemic pods” to invest in additional online learning programs and share curriculum within the group.