Urgh, the big question – should I send my kids back to school during COVID? This question has been burning inside the mind of many moms, including myself. I mean, how can you not think about this?
Never in our lives did we expect such a sudden change that would force us to make such a huge decision. But hey, we’re in this together mama so let’s go through our options and see which would be the best for you.
And look, you’re doing your best. Not everyone will decide the same way and all our situations are different. So as we go through the pros and cons, just know that no matter what choice you make, you’re making the best one for your family.
COVID School Reopening Basics
It’s no surprise that the cases are rising after the states started to reopen. We ourselves live in Texas, one of the first states to reopen during the pandemic and our cases are off the chart.
But you may live in a state where the cases are not as bad. This COVID Cases Chart by the CDC will show you the cases in your state. So as you read through the below, keep all this data in mind. And don’t worry about what someone else may think, or what another mom is doing.
The CDC has also set school reopening guidelines for those that choose to reopen in the fall. Some of the guidelines include:
– Students and staff required to wear face masks
– Keeping desks 6 feet apart
– Meals in the classroom instead of the cafeteria
– Continuous cleaning and disinfecting
These guidelines were set in place to pretty much give us moms some peace of mind when sending our kids back to school.
But for some reason, we still cannot decide. And that’s okay because you are not alone. So hopefully this guide will help you get a bit closer to making your decision.
And no matter what you decide, just know that it’s the best one for your family.
Related Post: Where To Buy the Best Cloth Face Masks for Kids
Sending Kids Back to School: Pros
There is always two sides to a story so that’s exactly what we’ll look at here, starting with the pros to sending kids back to school during COVID.
1) Socialization with others
We all know kids love to socialize and that their favorite part of school is being with their friends. So even with the social distancing measures that the CDC will be putting into place, they will still be able to chit chat and “hang out” from afar with their amigos.
And after a long, extended summer of not being around people, it could do them some good. So socialization is definitely a top pro to keep in mind.
2) Structure in the classroom
We have to admit, if our kids weren’t usually homeschooled, then the structure we had at home from March-May was no where near what the classroom can provide. I mean who can blame us? We were never expecting to homeschool our children, that’s why they were in school.
So returning to the classroom definitely means they’ll have a much better structure. Not to mention the attention they’ll from the teacher compared to what they actually got from us when distance learning.
3) Sense of “normal”
By sending our kids back to school, it’ll give us moms some of our “normalcy” back into our lives. No more having to do triple the work and trying to figure things out last minute. I mean, we’re already busy as it is and this is only adding on something else to our list. Am I right?
So yeah, we can somewhat go back to our normal life, at least for a few hours while they’re in school.
Sending Kids Back to School: Cons
But of course, not everything is rainbows and sunshine. What’s good always has a negative. So here are the cons to sending our kids back to school during COVID.
1) Risk of infection
Obviously the greatest risk and con for sending our kids back to school during COVID, is the risk of infection. By allowing them to go back into the public world, there are higher chances of them accidentally getting in contact with someone who has the infectious disease.
Thankfully, studies have shown that kids recover much better than those in the high-risk COVID category. However, if someone in your household or a dear one you see often falls into this high-risk category, the risk is a bit greater.
2) Safety practices not enforced
As we covered, the CDC has set guidelines for schools reopening during COVID. However, I don’t know about you but I’m a bit untrustworthy when I can’t see something with my own eyes. Unless there are 24/7 cameras rolling, there is no guarantee that the schools and teachers are actually enforcing the guidelines.
And sometimes it might not even be their fault. You have to admit that our kids are pretty wild and crazy. So especially after being locked indoors for months, it might be slightly harder for another adult to control them.
3) Higher anxiety levels
This one may just be me or maybe you’re right there with me when I say that our anxiety levels might go through the roof if our kids aren’t with us. My son is 7, and even though I’ve educated him on the importance of not putting his hands in his mouth or touching his eyes, he’s 7. He’s just a kid.
And for the very reason of the first two cons, I myself would be pretty nervous all day long, wondering what he’s doing. Nonetheless, I know for a fact my anxiety would be high. Hopefully yours wouldn’t be as bad LOL.
Related post: 39 Genius Ways to Recover From Working Mom Burnout
Not Sending Kids Back to School
Okay so what if you don’t send your kids back to school during COVID? What happens then? And is this even an option for you?
This is where things start to get tricky and is probably where you’re stuck right now. Perhaps you already know what you want to do, but don’t know what you can do. And trust me, I was right there with you.
Like I said, never did we think we would have to make such a huge decision like this one. And the pros and cons to not sending your kids back to school during COVID is literally the exact opposite of everything shared above.
There’s just one thing we haven’t covered. The biggest con to not sending your kids back… meaning you would have to figure out the distance learning situation.
Can you do distance learning?
Now I know every situation is different and we all have to make the best choice for our family, and you will. But before you can do that, you need to evaluate and see if you are even in a position where you can do distance learning for your children.
As working moms, the choice is tough. For me, I am thankful to have a job that can be done from home. And even if they planned on sending us back to the office, they would have heard a flat out NO from me. But I know that this might not be the case for everyone. So how do you know what to do?
Well, it’s time to take a hard look at your current life situation and start doing some deep evaluations.
9 Working Mom Options to Consider Before Deciding
Yeah this situation sucks, like really really sucks. But as moms, we always try to do the best for our families. Many times that means that sacrifices and changes are going to have to be made.
So before you decide which route you’re going to take, here are some things other working moms are doing this school year to cope with the new way of living.
These are some things you could consider and look into so that you don’t have to send your kids back to school if you don’t want to.
1) Request to work from home
Many companies are already transitioning to a working from home model. If you have an office job but your company has not yet announced such a change, consider putting together a solid case and give them your request.
Of course going this route means that changes will need to happen at home, but at least it’ll give you a sense of peace knowing that you don’t have to send your kids back to school during COVID if you don’t want to.
Related Post: How To Work at Home With Kids
2) Go part-time at your job
But if your job doesn’t allow you to work from home, then another option you can consider is going part-time. Check with your spouse and see if hours can be alternated or what your preferred part-time working schedule should be. The hours you get back could then be spent helping your child with their schoolwork.
This of course is after you’ve taken a good look at your financials to see if this is a reasonable option you could consider. Or maybe, you could go part-time and then start a side hustle from home.
3) Request support from family
If you live around your family, perhaps it’s time you reach out to them to see if they can support. Or perhaps they are in the same boat and are also in need of support. In this case, you could work together to see if you can find a mutual balance for both parties.
Or better yet, perhaps grandma will be willing to take the kiddos for a few extra hours a week. I’m not sure how much schoolwork they would actually get done, at least that’s the case for us, but it gives you another option to consider.
4) Transition to homeschooling
Now this one is an option that quite a few other working moms seem to be considering. Instead of doing distance learning through your child’s school, you would fully transition them to a homeschooling program which typically goes by credit hours, with you setting your own schedule.
The reason why some moms are going this route is because of how disorganized the school was previously. So if this is you then homeschooling might not be a bad choice after all, in fact, it might make things easier. These homeschooling webinar sessions will help get you setup for success so you don’t have to worry about not knowing what to do or where to start.
5) Rotate schedule with neighbor or friend
Another suggestion from a working mom was to collaborate with a close neighbor or friend and create a rotating schedule. This means that you would pick certain days of the week for the kids to stay over at the other person’s house during the school hours. And vice versa.
This option could work if you work full-time or part-time, depending on the type of work you do and the hours you work. So if you have someone close that you trust, try making this suggestion.
6) Hire a nanny or retired teacher
Another option to look into so you can avoid sending your kids back to school during COVID, is to hire a nanny or a retired teacher to help. This can work regardless if you work outside of the home or at home (so you can actually focus on work).
The big plus side to this option would be keeping your kids at home and allowing you to work at the same time, without hindering their studies. So if you’re able, this may also be a great option to look into asap.
7) Find a work from home job
Or maybe you’re just tired of having to go back to your public job and are ready to look for something to do at home. This way, you can spend time with your kids and help them with their schoolwork, all without hindering your financials. If so, finding a legitimate work at home job may be exactly what you need.
This Work at Home Bundle includes 28 resources to help you do just that. It covers how and where to look for real work at home jobs (with 150 companies that hire), includes your independent contractor template, assistance on staying productive and more. It’s a great resource to consider if you want to go this route.
Related Post: Resources to Become a Working From Home Mom
8) Consider the hybrid option
Before we jump to the most extreme option, perhaps you may want to consider the hybrid solution that many districts are allowing. The hybrid model pretty much means that your child would attend school in-person 50% of the time, and the other 50% would be done at home through distance learning.
So even though you’re sending your kids back, they won’t be there for the full amount of time. This may be a good balanced alternative if you can’t seem to find an option that works.
9) Someone quits
Lastly, the most extreme route you would have to take to avoid sending your kids back to school during COVID – someone quits, whether it’s you or your spouse. But first, you would need to see if you’re financially able to allow one of you to stop working so that person can stay home with the kids.
This one of course, is the least popular option but may just be what you need to do. In fact, you may not realize how financially stable you could be if you don’t go through your financials at all. The end result may surprise you.
I know these are not all the best options and to be honest, what works for me or someone else, doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. So I wanted to lay it all out so that you can have a clear guide and a better overview to what your true options are.
And hey, we are all literally in this together. So we might even go through several of these options as trial-and-error. And this is okay! We are not perfect and we don’t have to be. We don’t have to pick the perfect choice from the get go.
Maybe start with the least aggressive option and see if that works. Pick your top 3 from the list and experiment with them to see which one fits your life the best.
It’s okay mama, you will get through this.
And you will make the best choice for your family.
You’re Making The Best Choice
No matter which route you decide to take, just know that you are doing the best that you can. No one prepared us for something like this so don’t beat yourself up for the decision you make. You ARE making the best choice for your family and that’s what matters.
And because I know this has all been super stressful, just know that you should also be taking care of yourself. So grab your free copy of self-care ideas for moms here and schedule in some time to work through some of these.
If you have any thoughts regarding this all, I’m all ears. Please feel free to share your thoughts or questions below. I’d love to hear from you!