Kelly: Why My Kids Need to Return to School

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As a parent, I would like to set the record straight on a few things.

I do not need schools to reopen because I need daycare. My kids are teenagers and do just fine while I am at work (and I get home at 11 am).

I do not need schools to reopen because I am tired of having my kids at home and want someone else to deal with them. I am just fine having my kids at home with me, I actually like my kids (most of the time!) and not having to pack lunches, wash clothes and check backpacks every night is actually welcome.

I do not need schools to reopen so someone else can teach them character, morals, values, and how to be decent people. I think their father and I are doing a pretty good job at that.

I do not need schools to open so they can socialize with their friends. We have our little “safe zone” that I feel comfortable in and that includes a small group of their friends’ families.

Here is why MY CHILDREN need schools to reopen:

The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics tells us that isolation is harming our children. I believe this with my entire being. I have seen signs of depression and anxiety off and on in a number of families and this can not be minimized or ignored.

They need a return to school for growth and development and an EDUCATION. They need to be taught by an actual human being, who spent many years in college and beyond, earning advanced degrees and specialized certifications in how best to do this.

They need a return to school because a computer program that amounts to independent study is not cutting it. And let’s not even get into the level of cheating that is taking place when they can google the answers to anything under the sun and text/FaceTime answers with their friends.

They need a return to school because just as we as a society have an obligation to protect each other from this virus, we also have an obligation to our children to make sure their needs are met. This pandemic is going to have far reaching effects and we won’t know the long term implications until it’s too late to go back and change them.

We are ALL expected to adapt to this situation and protect ourselves and others. Most of us who have been going to work every day for the duration of this pandemic have been doing so for the sake of others. When I hear someone say “I didn’t sign up for this” I want to scream right back that “NONE OF US DID!”. But we put on our masks, slather on the hand sanitizer, go to work and hope for the best.

I’m not making a call on when it’s the right time to go back to school. Each state, region and community is facing a different set of circumstances. So is each family. But when I keep reading posts from educators who think the reason parents want schools to reopen is because we are selfish and lazy and need them to babysit our kids so we can have free daycare or “me time”, they need to step outside themselves and see that the needs of our KIDS come first. It’s not about us. It’s about the next generation that is not getting the educational building blocks they need to grow up and run this country even a little bit better than it is being run right now.

And also for the record, my mother was a teacher for over 40 years. My best friends are teachers. I love, adore and appreciate every teacher my children have had. Please don’t sell yourselves short and pretend kids don’t need to be in school, or that distance learning can replace you. They need to be in school, because they need to be with YOU. As parents, we know that sometimes our ability isn’t enough. We know when a child needs to see a doctor, someone who has more experience and knowledge to help get them better. And we know when our children need someone to help them learn, someone with the knowledge, experience and ability to teach them what we can’t.

And that someone is you.-Kelly

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