CDC guidelines for reopening schools have some parents concerned

As school districts await guidance on what it will take to reopen classrooms this fall, students may not be there to fill them.

According to an online USA Today/Ipsos poll, 6 in 10 parents with at least one K-12 child are “likely to pursue at-home learning options” instead of sending their children back to school this fall, with nearly a third of parents saying they are “very likely” to do so. I previously wrote about another national poll that found 4 out of 10 parents are “more likely” to enroll their child in a homeschool, neighborhood homeschool co-op, or virtual school once the lockdowns are over.

And given the extent of the Center for Disease Control’s newly released recommendations for school reopening, other parents may also start considering a different learning environment for their child, according to Kerry McDonald, a senior education fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its recommendations for school reopening, including encouraging daily temperature checks and/or symptom checking, face coverings for all staff and children over two, desks spaced six feet apart, staggered schedules, no cafeteria or playground use, installed partitions and physical barriers, no field trips, no toy sharing, and restrictions on outside visitors, including parents.

We should care deeply about children’s health and safety, but like much about this pandemic, it’s important to make sure that the response isn’t more damaging than the virus itself. Many parents and educators are rightfully concerned about children’s mental health during these lockdowns, but when lockdowns end and schools reopen, children’s mental health could be worsened with extreme social distancing measures that remove any of the potentially enjoyable pieces of schooling, such as playground time, extracurriculars, and gathering with friends.

For parent Meredith Ethington, the CDC’s guidelines are concerning.

There are some things the CDC is suggesting that I just don’t know how school districts could possibly implement. Especially in lower economic areas.

But, here’s what worries me the most—that we are going to scare our kids. That we will be instilling fear in them forever. Fear of germs. Fear of physical touch. Fear of physical proximity, even.

I get that school is supposed to be about learning, but this will feel more like a prison for some kids.

My heart breaks at the thought that this is what I might have to send my kids back to, and honestly I don’t know if I can do it.

A Florida mother of three is also weighing her options, stating she “would rather join a homeschool co-op before sending her children back to a school with the current CDC guidelines.”

I believe I could give my children the education they need and the social interaction that would be better for both their educational AND psychological growth than the public school could provide if it were to change like these guidelines state.