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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, parents across the US are making tough decisions regarding school. Should you keep your children home or send them back to the classroom? Here are some considerations from a physician that will help you decide.

Your Area

First, consider how COVID-19 has affected your area and how your state is handling it. If you are in a state where cases continue to rise, it is unlikely that schools will be available to stay free of the virus. Other considerations include local hospitalizations and capacity, the frequency of testing in your area, and the turnaround time for test results. If your state is not doing well in any of these areas, in-person school is not advised. 

The School’s Plan

The next part of your determination should rely on how your child’s school plans to re-open. Mitigation measures should be put in place and include screening, reducing class sizes, and strict cleaning procedures. If your school does not have adequate policies to address mitigation, you may want to consider keeping your child (or children) home. 

Your Family’s Situation

When deciding whether to return your children to school, you must also consider your unique family situation. How healthy is your household? Do you have household members who smoke, are senior citizens, or who are immunocompromised? If your answer is yes, consider keeping your kids home. 

You should also think twice about sending your children to school if you do not have adequate insurance coverage or a primary care physician. Any child returning to in-person school should have comprehensive coverage to ensure that they receive the care they need, and their families do not suffer financially if they get sick. 

Start at Home

If you have considered all of the above and decided that you’re in good shape to send your children back to school, be sure to instill some healthy habits. Make sure your kids know the importance of frequently washing their hands, wearing masks, and social distancing. If they are hesitant to return to school under these conditions, then virtual learning might be best. 

If you and your child agree that returning to school is for the best, and you’re confident that your child can follow mitigation policies, the last thing to do is prepare for what could happen. Of course, you will hope for the best, but it’s also essential to be ready in case the worst happens.

These are tough times for everyone. Many parents feel like they are facing impossible decisions regarding school. Try not to be overwhelmed, but instead, listen to experts, look at your unique situation, and trust yourself to make the best decision for your family.