Parenting Pandemics

The Nearly Impossible Job of Parenting in a Pandemic

I know these are not new thoughts here, but today, I’m thankful that I am a parent of grown kids. Thank goodness.  I’m curious though. What if I had school age kids?  What would I do this fall, if I was here, where I am in Montgomery County? 

I’m curious, because I casually started hearing about an odd arrangement of learning for the fall. Half days; Wednesdays off. Some remote; some in-person. I had a friend say she was bringing a family member to help with the kids. I’m confused and curious.

art by @emmanuelaopc

I go to a website:

June 30, 2020
Schedule Clarification to 6-12 Families

Middle and high school families,

I am writing today to apologize. The information I provided yesterday regarding having siblings across schools on the same schedule was incorrect. Middle and high school students can be placed on an all-morning or all-afternoon schedule to align with their elementary siblings. Additionally middle and high school students can be placed on an all-morning or all-afternoon schedule so that they align across schools. This does mean that the middle or high school student would be virtual-only for some classes

If a secondary student must be placed on a morning-only or afternoon-only schedule, that student will have to do certain classes in a fully-remote format.  For example, a middle school student on an all-morning schedule would only have in-person classes for periods 1,2,5,6; periods 3,4,7 and I/E are only in-person in the afternoon.   

We are committed to working with parents to align schedules for multiple children in the same family.  Contact your children’s school to make this request.  The schools are working together to accommodate these schedule modifications.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Yikes, I think to myself. I’m even more confused.  The letter isn’t even signed.  I think it must be the superintendent. Anyway, he seems confused.  If he is confused, what do we think the parents will be?  I keep reading, more out of curiosity.

June 18, 2020
Good afternoon families. The school board unanimously approved option two for elementary, middle, and high schools. This means elementary students will be assigned to either the morning or afternoon group and will attend school for a half-day (three hours) on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

All middle and high school students will be divided into Groups 1 & 2 (50% each). Each group will take two classes in person every day (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday). Groups will alternate morning & afternoon sessions. When students are not attending classes in person, they will participate in synchronous remote learning at home. Each high school will have a slightly different schedule that will allow them to return to their regular schedules once schools fully reopen.

On Wednesdays, students will not attend school but will have opportunities to engage in additional offerings through student services such as counseling, social-emotional learning, cross-district, and school-based discussion forums, and student leadership training.On Wednesdays, schools would be closed for deep cleaning, possible teacher workday or professional development. For students, it would be a workday at home.There will be a questionnaire sent out to parents next week about whether their child would ride the bus and child care needs.Teachers with elementary age kids would be allowed to attend school each day to help with childcare concerns.

Ok, now I’m clear.   Got it. Not.

How are parents supposed to work, especially the few that have managed to keep their jobs because they are “essential” in the time of pandemic?  What about the “front-line” heroes everyone is talking about?  What about the parents or even single parents that have to go to work all day, that cannot work from home, that do not have the time to read complicated and confusing emails from administrators, that do not have  the time to fill out a survey, get clarification?

What is supposed to happen on Wednesdays? What about the other days — the afternoons, the mornings, the jobs that are inflexible? Will Child Services be sent by nosy neighbors to communities where they know the single working mother cannot possibly be watching her child in the afternoons or mornings? What age is acceptable to leave a child alone by themselves, or in the care of another sibling? How old does the other sibling have to be?  Do the siblings need to get along?  What if they don’t?  Who needs to have a car?  Will parents, with cars, need to spend their time driving in “rush hour” traffic to take their kids to school – at least 830 or 11:30 to deal with drop off lines and any new procedures of testing, etc., and then of course, by the time they return home or get to work, they need to be turning around at 11:30 or 4:00 to go back into the rush-hour to pick up the child, to do what with them?  Take them home, to ——   oh yes…remote learning…Hey little cutie-pie…’s your computer…..stare into it for 3 hours to get your learning.  And what learning happens in 3 hours, after a hectic drop off of confusion, and mask wearing, and distancing in the school?

Is this the best solution here?   I know we are in a pandemic and we want everyone to be safe and healthy.  But…..

If the world could send man to the moon, surely the world could be more innovative and creative….I would think….

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