Don't Judge Parents––Like Me–– For Sending Our Kids Back To School

by Jodi Kalson
I'm Sending My Kids Back To School -- I Hope I'm Making The Right Choice

I live in Atlanta, and I am fortunate that my daughters attend two of the best private schools in the city. Both seem to be doing all they can to make it safe for the kids, but I am still unsure about my decision because of all the unknowns about this virus.

I wish the information and recommendations out there weren’t constantly changing. I wish there were consistent messages being sent by the politicians and different news outlets. I wish I knew when this all was going to end and things would just go back to normal for my kids. If I knew this was ending in a few months, I would keep them home, but there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids have been fine over the past 5 months, and luckily they haven’t really struggled too much with having to be home and away from their friends. But I still think school in person will be so important for them this year, especially my older daughter who has dyslexia and ADHD. She is starting at a special school for kids with dyslexia and the program seems incredible. To have her miss out on all that there is to offer seems like it would be a huge disservice to her.

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My feelings are more mixed about my younger daughter who is starting Pre-K. Her school is amazing as well, and they offered so many great things when they went virtual last year, but it was extremely difficult to get her to do anything productive from home. I have been trying to justify my decision to send her and am wondering if she really needs to be doing anything productive yet anyway. She’s 4. Part of me thinks I am sending her just because I am sending her older sister. Part of me thinks I am sending her because I work (part-time), and part of me thinks I am sending her because, truthfully, I need a break. And then I think, “well, schools wouldn’t be opening if they didn’t think they could keep the kids safe, right?”

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I’ve done my research and I know that pediatricians recommend sending kids to school. I also heard the director of the CDC say, without hesitation, that he would send his grandkids to school. But then I see these counties in Georgia with hundreds of cases after schools opened. I know the schools my kids attend are significantly smaller, but it still makes me nervous. I think about my 72-year-old mother currently living with me and wonder if I’m making the right decision. If I need to teach the kids from home again, I could do it. But since school is being offered, and most people I know are sending their kids, I feel like it’s just what I’m deciding to do.

I am just filled with so many mixed emotions and hope I am making the right decision. It’s such a hard thing to talk to people about because it seems that everyone has their own opinion and is so judgmental. I don’t even really know what my opinion is. But in a few days it’s happening, and I just hope it all works out. I know there is no right or wrong answer, and that every family is in a unique situation. I also know that everyone is just trying to do what’s best for them and their families. Hopefully once school starts, I can find peace in knowing that this was the right decision for us.