08/02/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/03/2020 14:12
Local case & spread rates
Everytime your kids interact with another person, they risk exposing themselves and others to the virus. Whether that risk is high or low, however, is dependent on the situation. Are cases rising or falling in your city? If you are located in a hot spot, there may be additional risk associated with your child leaving the house each day. Meanwhile, if cases are falling in your area, your child may be able to more safely socialize in a classroom.
Health of your child and family
Though children are not at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, there are several health conditions that may make them more likely to become severely ill from the virus. If your child is immunocompromised or has any one of these conditions, you may reconsider sending them back to the school until the curve has flattened. Additionally, if another member of your household falls into one of these more vulnerable categories, understanding school safety measures and options for distance or hybrid learning will be especially important.
Mental health of your child
Will your child's mental health be negatively affected by attending or not attending school in-person? We know that socialization plays an important role in developing interpersonal skills. Social distancing and school closures due to the pandemic have also increased feelings of loneliness, stress, fear, and anxiety for some children. At the same time, it's important to recognize that children may have worries about wearing a mask, seeing friends after long periods of social distancing, fear of getting sick, or general anxiety about returning to school. When making plans for the upcoming school year, it's important to weigh the impact of in-person or virtual instruction on your child's mental health.
In addition to the actual classroom, you might also factor public transportation into your decision. Densely populated public spaces, like buses or trains, inadvertently raise your child's risk of exposure to COVID-19. If your child regularly rides a school bus or relies on another form of public transportation, you should look into the district's social distancing and sanitation policies. Many are limiting the number of people per bus, assigning seats, and regularly cleaning buses, for example. If you are able to do so, you may also consider less-crowded methods of transportation, including walking, biking, or driving to school.