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  • Writer's pictureMichele Thomas

Back to School

The topic of going back to school has been a heated one. The pandemic has made us all stop and look at what is vital for our families. For my family, we decided it best for my son to finish his senior year from home. My husband and father- who lives in an adjoining in-law unit, are immunocompromised. We made this decision for our sanity; it was not lightly decided but multiple discussions over weeks.

One of my friends who works from home has decided to send her son back to school. Their family also had in-depth conversations about the implications of whether or not to send their son to school. She and I also had countless talks about health risks, both pro, and con. I listened to her reasoning with an open mind and supported her eventual decision

Another friend decided to keep her daughter in daycare for an extra year. Her daycare has been open during the entire pandemic with no cases of COVID-19. This friend and I also spent time talking about the what-ifs, pros, and cons. I supported her decision by listening to her reasoning with an open mind.

As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, each family is left to make their own choices. There are moments I am scared, fearful for all the students that walk into school. I am proud that schools have risen to the occasion and found ways to make schools safer. Like most parents, schools have taken this wild, rabid bull by the horns and are doing their best to provide a safe environment.

As a member of my town's board of education, watching this small town come together for its families and students has been amazing. Since the start of this pandemic, the positive action-responses by parents and schools has been astonishing. The task force that was put together consisted of over 30 individuals who live or work within our town. They created three very in-depth plans sharing each one with all families.

We have all watched the back and forth that has gone been going on during this pandemic. We see the new evidence, the contradictions, the failures, and the success. We must stand ready to provide support as families struggle to make the best decision for their children.

People make their choices based on how they feel and what they know. We should be ever mindful not to undermine or make someone feel inferior for their decision.

Our family feels awful knowing that our son will be missing out on his senior year of high school;atime of warm good-byes and the start of new experiences and adventure. We hope the best for my friend, whose son will attend school, that the safety precautions will protect him. High hopes that my other friend's daughter's daycare maintains their fantastic healthy record during these trying times. Every person should be able to make their own decision without fear of being judged by someone else.

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