One thing the pandemic has done over the past two years or so is showcase certain fundamental divisions this country has. The way American citizens react to crises are not the same, and there is little agreement over what to do at every stage of this ongoing saga.
Part of the issue is that Americans don’t seem to be able or willing to trust the same sources. Some are fine following the recommendations of organizations like the CDC or the WHO, while others don’t feel that those are trustworthy entities anymore.
If you’re not sure who to trust, it’s easy to lash out, which is what we’re seeing at many school board meetings around the country. Many parents feel concerned about their children, who need their education, regardless of how old they are or where they are in the learning process.
While many of these parents and guardians don’t see eye to eye on how schools should conduct themselves right now, they all agree that they want what’s best for their kids. What that means isn’t exactly clear, which is why now is such a stressful time for parents and children alike.
No Two States Are Identical
During the pandemic, virtually every niche or industry has had to adjust itself in various ways. For instance, IT teams have introduced the zero-trust model that helps schools and companies that have many of their employees working from home right now. Zero-trust is a way to secure devices and network connectivity as these institutions experiment with the hybrid learning and work model.
As far as educational requirements, what one state dictates might be completely different from what’s happening elsewhere. Florida and New York are prime examples.
In Florida, Governor DeSantis is doing all he can to avoid vaccine and mask mandates, not only regarding public schools but also in hospitals and several other niches. This way of approaching things is seeing some stiff resistance in the court system.
New York is taking the opposite approach. All around the state, and particularly in New York City, government mandates are forcing healthcare and educational workers to vaccinate themselves, even if some of them are resistant to the idea. Most of them are caving because they don’t want to lose their jobs, but some are so fearful or distrustful of the vaccine that they’re willing to have their bosses fire them instead of relenting.
Every Parent Has Decisions to Make
It’s not surprising that many parents and kids feel anxious right now, to put it mildly. Some parents are trying to make decisions based on religious beliefs, familial advice, or less tangible notions.
Ultimately, each parent has to do what they feel is suitable for themselves and their families. They all want their kids to get an education since they don’t want them to fall behind. That seems almost inevitable in some instances, though, if there are not enough teachers willing to adhere to state-required mask and vaccine mandates.
What virtually every parent would say is that their child’s health is more important than their education. Yes, they want their kids to keep learning and not to lose ground, but if they believe that their child’s life is literally in danger if they go to school, they’re almost universally going to keep them home.
This Is an Unprecedented Time
Nothing like this has occurred in recent memory, and the pandemic shows no signs of going away. Some experts feel that we will continue to deal with Covid-19 for at least the next 2-3 years.
Others think that coronavirus eradication is virtually impossible, and it will always be with us from this point forward, popping up every year like the flu. Even though herd immunity seems likely at some juncture, there will be many more deaths and a lot more suffering before that happens.
Some parents are starting to teach their kids themselves. If they have any educational background, they’re beginning to establish their own curricula and taking time off from work to act as stand-in teachers in a homeschool setting.
For many parents, though, that is impossible. They either don’t have the background or skill set to teach their kids themselves, or they cannot take time off from work. They need to continue working to support their families, and paying rent and bills is more vital than a child’s education.
These Are Tremendously Difficult Decisions to Make
With parents having to make very tough choices, it is no wonder that many adults and kids report feeling anxiety and stress like never before. Regardless of whether you’re in a state where you feel comfortable sending your kids to school, you probably do know plenty of people who are struggling mentally and emotionally right now.
While every parent has to conduct themselves as they see fit, and their children must follow their lead in these matters, one helpful thing is to try and gel together as a family as much as possible. Parents can look to their mental health by checking in with each other and doing whatever they can to help one another cope.
If that means one parent can stay home and teach the kids while the other works, then that’s fine. If you’re comfortable allowing your children to go to school, and your local school district remains open and has the teachers there to handle the class sizes, that works too.
What’s important is that parents acknowledge that even if someone you know wants to handle the situation with their kids differently than what you’re choosing to do, that does not make them a bad person. This is such a uniquely challenging time for everybody. Being judgmental toward someone who’s making different choices than you are is counterproductive.
Look to your own family, and try to make the best choices you can based on sources you trust. As a parent, your kids are looking toward you to do that, and it’s best to try and provide them with a good example.
Featured Image: Robo Wunderkind, Unsplash.