Even in the best of times, the beginning of a new school year can be a challenging time for parents and kids. The mix of apprehension and excitement for both can almost be palpable. Have you considered that, this year, the biggest challenge for parents may be how to keep their children safe as they return to school in the midst of a global pandemic? Let us take a moment to talk about a few tips to consider how to keep kids safe as they go back to school. 

First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, encourages all parents to learn how potential exposure to COVID-19 could impact your child.

The general consensus among experts based on limited data is that healthy children may be less likely to contract COVID-19 than adults. For the most part, the illness children do experience may not be as severe as illness experienced by adults. COVID-19 symptoms in children can include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, headache, body ache, and diarrhea. Serious and even life-threatening illness has been reported in some cases.

Experts caution that some children with underlying or medically complex health conditions may be more susceptible to COVID-19 than their peers. 

Regarding the option to learn remotely or go to school in person, it should be acknowledged that every family may have unique needs when it comes to education.  Learning options should be evaluated based on numerous factors, such as their children’s ages, their overall health, their ability to learn, the type of their overall happiness, and more.

Accordingly the CDC, encourages parents to consider the following when choosing classroom or virtual learning:

  •         Access to school services
  •         The importance of social interaction
  •         The children’s academic needs
  •         Potential risk of exposure to COVID-19
  •         The extent of COVID-19 in the community
  •         Parent ability to facilitate virtual learning

The CDC also encourages parents to review the school district’s plans to accommodate children and keep them safe in the classroom. Ideally, the school district or school administration’s plans to reopen will:

  •         Facilitate physical distancing for students by spacing desks no less than 3 feet apart
  •         Keep adult faculty and staff at least 6 feet away from students
  •         Promote the use of outside spaces for instruction and meals when possible
  •         Facilitate cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces that students are most likely to touch
  •         Provide extra space for students while they are singing, participating in sports, and so on
  •         Require the use of face coverings for students and staff
  •         Encourage frequent hand washing
  •         Promote the use of signage and arrows to reduce crowding in corridors, stairwells, and other small or enclosed spaces

Ultimately, the decision to send your children back to school in person, or opt for virtual learning is a highly personal choice. It can also be emotionally charged for you and your children. As family lawyers, we realize you may also have questions about legal implications of this decision. As always, you are welcome to contact our law firm to arrange a time to discuss your concerns. We look forward to hearing from you.