School age children and their parents are facing multiple issues and making difficult decisions as schools officials, school board members, and teachers’ unions wreak havoc with their schedules and learning environments. As a result, many students are falling behind and many parents are struggling to keep up with all of it.
It seems every week, the news is filled with headlines related to school openings, school closings, and teacher “sick outs.” Rarely do we hear from the families that are affected by the decisions reflected in the headlines.
Those families are facing the hard choice of keeping their jobs to support their families or losing their jobs to stay home and teach their children. Many parents are feeling hopeless and see themselves in a lose-lose situation, especially single parents.
Parents are also getting frustrated at the lack of consistency. While school unions claim its unsafe to return to in person school, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci doesn’t agree.
“The default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to get them back to school.” Stated the controversial but always overly cautious Fauci, “If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected.”
So why then are schools not opening? Many teachers are refusing to go back into the classroom and with the pre-existing teacher shortage already in high demand its putting school district administrators, parents and students in a rough position.
Mother, and Tucson Realtor ©, Melissa Velazquez, is staying positive. “Trying to motivate teenagers to stay on track with Zoom calls and submitting assignments on time is a full-time job,” said Velaquez. “Thankfully, as a Realtor ©, I can work from home when I’m not with clients. I don’t know how families are managing when parents need to work full time out of the home.”
While parents are trying to be positive and agreeable, the schools are providing little support. According to Melissa, the teachers seem to be more lenient when it comes to assignment deadlines, but that is about it. outside of that. Melissa, like countless other parents, is certain her kids aren’t learning as much as they usually would if they were in school.
Katie, a single mom, had to make a very difficult choice. Without her kids in school, she would have had to pay for daycare, paying out more than she earned in the collapsing service industry.
Katie has decided on homeschooling for now, saying she felt like the pandemic was being treated as more of a political issue then a community safety issue.
According to care.com childcare cost averaged $215 a week in 2019, or $10,320 annually. Paying for a nanny is averaged $565 a week in 2019, or $27,120 annually. Creating an impossible situation for parents that need to work outside of their household.
After school programs have also been placed on hold during the pandemic making it even more stressful on parents and creating a negative effect on children’s mental health.
According to teachersforopenschools.com, “students are experiencing many increased risks: up to 14 months of learning loss; food insecurity rates have doubled from 18% to 35%; emergency department visits related to mental health have increased 24 percent for children aged 5-11 and have spike 31 percent among adolescents aged 12-17.”
Instead of the focus being on providing the best and safest education to students, schools seem comfortable leaving many unanswered questions while keeping school doors closed.