Why We Chose to Send Our Child Back to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Once again in the spirit of sharing information during this pandemic, I thought it would be a great idea to share something controversial with you; our little girl has gone back to school. I see that raised eyebrow but don’t worry, we did our research and spent quite a bit of time debating it before making the decision. If you’ve read my Covid-19 Journals, you know that my whole family has contracted and recovered from the ‘rona and as a result, our approach in this pandemic has changed significantly. Does it mean that we are walking around ‘mask-less’ ? Nope. Does it mean that we have started visiting friends and family? Definitely not. Does it mean that we have joined the petition to restore life to its pre-pandemic ways? Not at all. Everything else stays the same for us, the only change is that my daughter gets to spend a few hours at her pre-school learning, playing and socialising.

I’ll tell you why we continue to live in a bubble just now, but first, let’s look at the three things we considered before sending our toddler back to school.

Does my child (or anyone that lives with us) have any underlying medical conditions?

This one was key in making any decisions that would put our family at risk. We were lucky enough to have gotten ill and recovered, so answering this question was very simple. We could even take this further and say with certainty that we are not at a high risk of being hospitalised in the event that one of us does get reinfected. I know a few of you will point out that the virus is still new and no one really knows what the effects are long term, or how things work with reinfection… Now would be a great time to mention that my father-in-law is a doctor and thanks to the pandemic, has been spending quite a significant amount of this year treating patients with the coronavirus. He has been in medicine for over three decades and has made quite the name for himself, so when he gave the green light to send our tot back to school, we didn’t hesitate.

What is the reason for sending our child back during the pandemic?

Both my husband and I work very demanding jobs. I do my best not to speak about my professional life in detail for obvious reasons, but I will say that I have very set working hours during which I cannot afford to be distracted. Having a toddler running around while I speak to clients or focus on a task isn’t ideal and has lead to quite a few costly errors on my part. My husband has done his best to balance his work and caregiver responsibilities, but with several back to back calls, this often meant that she was screaming in the background or begging for attention. As a remedy, we found ourselves leaving our two year old with three electronic devices at a time to keep her busy. Anyone with kids would know that is not ideal, so we decided to send her to a place where the focus and attention would be on providing her with the necessary stimulation for her cognitive development.

What measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19

Even though we aren’t too afraid of the virus anymore, we still don’t want to get sick again because it was not a pleasant experience. The pre-school that little my daughter goes to has several measures put in place to ensure that the kids and teachers are kept as safe as possible. With children, it is a bit of a challenge to ensure that they follow the rules, so every parent needs to make that conscious decision knowing that all the other measures may not be enough. We were ok with that, knowing that children tend to respond better to the virus. It was also important to know how the school sanitised, social distanced and maintained safe environment.

What other considerations went into this decision?

Well, everything we considered was based on our exposure as a family, but we knew going into this that we needed to be very responsible in our approach. Just because we were part of the lucky population that responded fairly well to the virus did not mean that we could act recklessly. What many people forget is that there are teachers and other families who are not so lucky and would need protection against any possible infection. We continue to spend 99% of our time in our home, only leaving for emergencies or for a drive around the city with no exposure to other humans. We order our groceries online and practice a social distanced handoff ie wearing masks, sanitising and (quite obviously) keep a physical distance from the person who delivers the goods. It is important to note that none of this is for us, it is more for the teachers that have been forced to work so that they can put food on their tables. It is for the families of other children who may be at a higher risk of developing complications post infection. It is for the delivery men who still have to interact with several random people a day, delivering parcels so that they can pay their bills. Please think about the others too, everyone is making sacrifices.

I know there are many parents out there struggling with these tough decisions and many more who are being criticised for doing what is best for their families. What I ask is that you are kind to each and every one of them because you never know what considerations went into their decisions. You also do not know what challenges they are facing on a day to day basis. We are all in this together, but we are not all fighting the same fight.

Till next time, stay safe!

22 Comments Add yours

  1. I appreciate how thoughtful you were and really took steps to make an informed decision. It will be different for everyone and the best approach is what works for you as a family. Sorry to hear you all got corona. Really wishing it will not repeat and that this move will benefit you all.

    Like

  2. beth says:

    i’m a pre-kindergarten teacher and we will be going back in 2 weeks, with lots of safety measures in place, and i so miss in=person teaching

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shelly DS says:

      Awesome! I’m very grateful for you and every other pre-K teacher out there 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s also important your child doesn’t miss out on education and social interaction with others, that’s crucial for young children!

    Like

  4. Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) says:

    This is a very difficult decision with no right or wrong answer. It sounds like you thought it through and did what’s best for your family.

    Like

  5. Krisna says:

    I think there is no one right way. Each family is going to do what is best for their situation. I’ve read some other parents chose homeschooling because their schedule permits it but are nonetheless sad about the social development that their kids might miss out on. I see how it’s a very tough decision to make. I’m glad you chose the option that is best for your family.

    Like

  6. K E Garland says:

    So, Spawn goes to daycare, not necessarily school, right?
    Either way, I think we’d all do well to have less judgment about the situation and to take personal responsibility, in general, which I’m glad to see you’ve done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelly DS says:

      I giggled when you said ‘Spawn’ 😅 but yeah it’s a hybrid daycare and kindergarten which takes kids from 6 months to six years and preps them for actual elementary school with a rigid curriculum and everything. Thanks for reading! We really do need to stop judging because everyone has their reasons

      Liked by 2 people

      1. K E Garland says:

        🤷🏽‍♀️🤣 and for sure!

        Like

  7. MisterRick says:

    Way to go and all well put! What most parents like myself are having difficulties with right now. I loved your approach and execution. Congrats on a Finely nuanced performance!

    Like

  8. AmyRose🌹 says:

    The way you thought things through is impressive. You are so right …. what is right and true for one person may not be necessarily so for the next person. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelly DS says:

      Thanks so much for reading Amy 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s so challenging across the board, isn’t it. Here in Canada, my kids are entering Grade 8 and 10 so they are well equipped to make the decision on their own since they don’t need the same sort of hands-on supervision as they did when they were very young. We left the choice up to them. My son decided since his high school has a hybrid every other day in class for half the day schedule decided to go to school. My daughter however has to go 5 days a week from 9 to 3ish and decided that’s not for her. She opted for homeschooling.

    I don’t know what the right answer is. We’ll see, I guess, when/if the school year starts. (They delayed the first day from Sept 8 to Sept 15 but there are other hiccups now that may delay the start date again.)

    Like

  10. Indeed, may we continue to stay safe Shelly. Over here in West Africa, we have a unified exam going on for high school graduating students and this is what caused Nigeria to join the bulk of other neighbouring countries to reopen schools although, we did so for only students in graduating classes.

    Now fast forward to a few weeks, over fifty students have been infected by the virus and it’s super scary because I can’t imagine myself writing an exam under such conditions.

    What can I say? It’s scary for parents and it’s a tough decision to make. We should all be careful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelly DS says:

      It does seem like a very tough one to figure out… stunt your academic growth or save you life 😞 please stay safe!

      Like

  11. Zadi says:

    Very insightful post. I was one of those moms that choose sending my kids back to school in a pandemic, and the main reason for me is that, I don’t think they learn the same when they stay at home. Hopefully I am wrong because they are anyway at home!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelly DS says:

      Hi Zadi, thanks for your feedback. I have to agree, kids learn better at school though but given the circumstances we can’t bang our heads about the schools being closed or keeping kids at home 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Zadi says:

        Yes, I agree with you.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. bethblogger123 says:

    You are so right in what you say. Everyone has their own reasons for choosing to send their child to school or not. Instead of us making each other feel bad for our personal decisions, we need to support one another for the bravery in making the decision that is right for our family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelly DS says:

      Thanks for the love and support, Beth. And you’re right, we do need to support one another always, not just during the pandemic

      Like

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