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Drew: How to Decide Between the Virtual or Traditional Classroom

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

With the reopening of schools in America, parents are faced with one of the most difficult decisions they may have in their child(ren)’s lifetime. Do they choose the option to turn their home into a classroom for virtual learning or do they opt to allow their child to return to school for a more traditional in-person classroom?
Many school districts have made the decision temporarily for parents by conducting virtual learning for the first six to nine weeks, but what happens afterwards? There are some serious decisions parents must consider to determine whether to homeschool using virtual learning or allow your child(ren) to attend their school in a traditional manner (in-person).
When making your decision about school, you may need to consider other things beyond academics such as school meal programs, social services, extended day childcare, extra-curricular activities, social-emotional support from peers and educators and transportation.
It is important, as a parent, to weigh the risks and benefits of each. Understanding, aside from a child’s home, no other setting has more influence on a child’s health and well-being than school.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the benefits of in-person classes as possibly offering easier access to school services, improved educational efficacy, more opportunities for social interaction and return to work for parents and caregivers. It also warns of a “higher risk of COVID-19 exposure for your child than virtual instruction.”
Parents should begin by getting the scientific facts about the COVID-19 numbers in their community. They need to consider that COVID-19 is a newly identified disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. Scientists are still learning about how it spreads, how it affects children and what role children may play in its spread. Parents should also keep in mind that no one knows the long-term effects of COVID-19 in children.
We will explore over the next few weeks many points parents may want to consider in helping to make this difficult decision hopefully a little easier. After all, Keeping an Eye on Safety for their child(ren)’s health and well-being is one of the major responsibilities of being a parent.