Parents Express Concerns for Schools Reopening

When it comes to schools reopening in the fall following more than seven months of a pandemic, there are still a lot of unknowns and unanswered questions that leave parents concerned.

“I think with the plans [School Districts 203 & 204] have outline thus far, they are not as robust as they need to be,” says Felicia Schoenjohn, a mother concerned about the schools reopening even partially with a mix of online learning.  “There are many things you have to think about.  It’s not just the kids.  It’s the teachers.  It’s the staff and then what that looks like if one kid gets infected, do they have to shut down the whole school?  Does just that classroom gets shut down?  I think if they were to have a better plan that gives me some comfort, I’d be for it but right now, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Kellie Martial agrees, acknowledging it’s a personal decision and would never judge another parent for what he or she decides is best for his or her own child.  “We all have different situations but for me, I would not want to send my child to school right now.  We don’t know what these plans are going to look like.  Are they going to be eating lunch in the cafeteria or in their classroom?  Are they going to be in the gym?  I do think they’re trying to do the best that they can with the information that they have, but nobody has all the information right now.”

REMOTE LEARNING WOES

As the upcoming school year with most likely feature online learning in some facets, whether partially or entirely, Martial and Schoenjohn reflect back on the spring and what that was like having to balance their profession with also helping their children with online learning.

“As a working mom, it was tough,” says Schoenjohn.  “It was a challenge for me to get my son up, get him dressed, get him online, meanwhile I’ve got all this work behind me that I’m behind on and then once he’s done with his curriculum for a few hours, he then has assignments that have to be done that day.”

Experts and parents alike say that there’s more to being at school than just the curriculum that benefits students, things they don’t get while learning at home, such as exercise and social interactions.

“It’s been hard for kids because they can’t see their friends.  They can’t see their favorite teachers,” says Martial.

Martial can relate.  She too has been working from home, along with caring for an 8- 5- and 1-year old.

“I just felt all the mommy guilt because the remote learning was just not working,” she says.  “So when they talk about the online academy, my question was “How much of this will be synchronis?'” She says her daughter was more engaged with Zoom classes when her teacher, along with classmates, were all participating together at once, but there wasn’t much of that.  Schoenjohn agrees that synchronized learning and more details would be needed to feel more comfortable with schools reopening.

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Finding Common Ground is focused on important current events and how they impact our diverse population. We are many voices of one community, often with strong opinions on every side of an issue. Here, through courageous conversation in the interest of discovering collaborative solutions, we hope to find out common ground.

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