I Can’t See How Schools Will Reopen In The Fall

At the time of writing this, I have less than one month left of homeschooling. To say I am elated is an understatement. This coronavirus pandemic has affected every single person in our country and every other country in some way or another.

For us working parents, it has created a new reality we never thought we could see through.

But, we are doing it! In some surreal way – WE ARE GETTING THROUGH IT!

I wrote an article not too long ago on how I could never homeschool my kids. And as lovely karma would have it, I am in fact homeschooling – playing teacher – while simultaneously doing my job remotely. My husband’s job is considered “essential” so he is not in the home to help me get through the days. And I know I am not alone in this new reality of working and teaching in tandem.

All 50 states had some type of shelter-in-place order, and many states are gradually returning to normal. But what is that normal? As America begins its slow crawl to reopen, what does this all mean and what does this look like for the coming of months? Our new reality is definitely new. We are still required or at the minimum encouraged to wear a mask in public. We are expected to keep a six-foot distance from anyone other than our immediate family. And the store shelves are never completely stocked with toilet paper. I will never understand the toilet paper hoarding. Never.

The coronavirus is real. The fear/hype associated with it is a bit much. Yes, it is a pandemic and yes it has killed more than ever we imagined, but it has also created a ton of unnecessary anxiety. Every commercial on TV, every newscast, any time you go online has something streaming about COVID-19. It is in our face daily. And in our children’s faces as well.

Children are now afraid to go to stores with their parents. Playdates are still not happening (and for good reason). And kids are continuing to learn online until summer break. Summer vacation is only 10 weeks long, give or take. I do not believe that in 10 weeks COVID-19 will magically disappear. I also highly doubt a vaccine will be in place before next fall.

What does that mean for all of us? What does that mean for kids returning to school in the fall? Or for kindergarteners (like my youngest) who will be entering elementary school for the first time. I believe it will resemble nothing like it was once. And that is if they do go back.

If a second wave of this virus strikes, which realistically is very possible, I cannot see how the schools will reopen. Scientists tell us that one person can infect 40 others. Schools and children in general are major germ carriers. I would love to say I am excited for my kids to go back to school in the fall. LOVE! Because I am not a teacher and my patience is paper-thin these days when I have to do my job – which is all mental – and instruct my children how to do their schoolwork.

It is maddening to think we will continue to live in fear of this virus. It is equally maddening to think our kids will not physically be back in the classroom come September. But we have to be honest with the situation at hand. The virus may die down in the warmer months, but it will not be entirely eradicated. This virus was also supposedly only affecting the elderly, and as months went on we learned that wasn’t true.

The virus has also recently mutated and is affecting children across the nation, as a new mysterious inflammatory disease. Can we as a nation honestly believe a light switch will turn on and things will magically go back to normal?

No. That is not logically possible.

I would be happy to send my children back to school and have things return to normal by September. I would be more than happy to get back in the swing of life. I just do not see it happening.

And this new reality we are in – we are going to be in it longer than planned. The good news is we do get a break. 10 weeks. I say enjoy it while it lasts. Because the future is uncertain.

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