TWINSBURG, Ohio — One of the biggest questions parents face right now is: should kids go back to school?
Fall classes are just weeks away and several districts -- including Cleveland and Akron -- moved to start the academic year online. Others plan to bring kids into classrooms or offer a combo of both and some have yet to finalize plans -- leaving families in limbo.
Constance Dunn, of Twinsburg, said her major concern is of course the health and welfare of her three children. Because the COVID-19 situation continues to fluctuate, she felt better letting them learn from home - at least for the first quarter of the school year.
Dunn’s son Dwayne Anderson is going into his senior year and she also has two five-year old twins about to enter kindergarten in the Twinsburg City School District.
“You can either elect to do 100% virtual, or you can select to do a hybrid, which is partially in school for a few days and then the other days would be virtual,” Dunn said.
Dunn said she’s not a fan of in-person learning at this stage because she doesn’t feel like teachers will be able to make younger children socially distance and wear masks as they should.
“They're five-years-old, five-year-olds do what they want to do,” Dunn said. “Nor do I want them to have to wear a mask all day, you know, for their comfort, and you know, they’re children. I don't want them to wear masks all day.”
She’s also worried that her children could possibly catch the virus at school and bring it home.
“My concern is kind of a dual concern. First and foremost, that yes, my mother is one of their caregivers. So, my concern is that yes, they'll go to school, they'll be around other children who have been around their parents, you know, and they could contract something, and bring it back home,” Dunn said. “And then I also have a concern for the teachers and for the staff, you know, children. They're like little petri dishes, even without COVID, you know, they pass things around very easily.”
Licensed psychologist Dr. Tyffani Dent said when preparing for the upcoming school year, its important for parents to listen to their kids’ concerns, answer any questions they might have, and validate their feelings.
“Understanding that they may go back and forth between being excited, and at the same time being worried and so whatever emotion they're bringing up at the moment, letting them know that that emotion makes sense,” Dent said.
Dunn did ask Anderson if he wanted to go back to school for the hybrid option, but he chose to stick with virtual learning.
“I’ve talked to a few of my friends, even the ones that are a grade below me. And they all you know agree, our health comes before anything, you know if you don't have great health then life just isn't going to be, you know, the same," Anderson said.
Dunn said she would only consider letting her kids go back to school if the COVID-19 situation improves.
“If the numbers drastically changed, or if they plateaued. I just don't feel comfortable as long as wearing masks is a requirement, social distancing is a requirement, strict sanitation is a requirement. I don't feel comfortable,” Dunn said.
Dunn said she and her family will decide whether to stick with virtual learning or move to the hybrid option for the second quarter based on how things progress with COVID-19.
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