It's been the question at the top of every parent's mind this summer: what's back-to-school season going to look like in the age of the novel coronavirus and social distancing?
There are no easy answers: if the option for in-person schooling exists, we may be tempted to send our restless kids back to the classroom for some semblance of normalcy. Our kids miss their classmates (and we miss their teachers!)
But just because we may all be sick of all things Covid-19 doesn't mean the virus is done with us just yet. The threat of our children, teachers and vulnerable family members falling ill or spreading the virus on account of in-person schooling is still very real — something that's been made painfully clear as school districts and colleges across the country have attempted to open their doors, only to have to slam them closed again with positive tests.
Yet keeping our kids home is riddled with risks, too — we don't want our kids to fall behind in their education or developing the social skills that come with interacting with their peers. And if we're lucky enough to be employed in this economy, we're also faced with juggling work with facilitating our kids learning — something many of us feel ill equipped to do.
Recently, we surveyed our Instagram followers to learn how gay dads are navigating this difficult decision — and the results show that our community is just as torn as the rest of the country.
Out of 339 respondents, we learned that:
- About half of you are planning to keep your kids home, or in small group education "pods." A full 34% of respondents told us they are planning to keep their kids home and do virtual learning. An additional 16% plan to hire private tutors or create small group education "pods" to help spread the responsibility of teaching among several nearby families.
- Another good chunk of respondents are sending kids back full time. Our survey found that 39% of our respondents are planning to send kids back to in-person school full time, or to an in-person daycare facility.
- Many others are choosing a blended approach: 21% of our respondents said they plan to do a mixed approach — sending kids to school part-time, and teaching them at home, virtually, part time.
In addition to the United States, we heard from dads in Beijing, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, and England — and what's most clear is the concern our community has for our kids, teachers, and school administrators. Among the top concerns were:
- Lack of socialization opportunities: Many dads were concerned about keeping their children away from friends and the opportunity to socialize with peers. As one dad put it, "the lack of socialization, cooperative opportunities and problem solving" was top of his mind.
- Falling behind in educations: Others were concerned that however school is conducted this year, that it will be subpar compared to years previous — putting our kids educations at risk. Dads frequently mentioned things like "Reduced education standards" and fears their kids would "fall behind" as top concerns.
- Health concerns: And of course, our dads were concerned about the potential for Covid-19 to continue spreading with school reopening, potentially impacting our kids, their teachers, and our families and communities. "I'm concerned about a positive case in their bubble," said one dad, who had adopted the private, small group education model for his family.
On the plus side, despite these concerns, most of our respondents feel pretty confident in their schooling decision, according to the slider below:
Whatever your decision — and however you're feeling about it — aside, we at GWK want you to know you're not alone. We're all struggling with the same realities and imperfect choices this year. But that doesn't mean there's not some ways to prepare! So below, we've assembled some of our top back-to-school posts, videos, resources and more to help you navigate a back to school season that is certainly like none we've ever known.
Have an opinion you'd like to contribute or a resource to share? Send it along to email@example.com!
How to Get Your Kids to Adjust to Distance Learning
Our community member David Blacker and Doug Spicer teamed up with Dove Men + Care as part of their #DadsCare campaign to share some of their top tips to help kids adjust to distance learning.
Tips for Homeschooling Dads
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic meant many schools across the globe had to close, forcing parents to become teachers. Education at home is a difficult task for parents, especially if you're also trying to work (alongside household tasks and chores). Here’s the inside knowledge on homeschooling your kids in these uncertain times until things get back to normal.
Best Amazon Back-to-School Deals
Even a pandemic isn't going to stop us from scouring the internet for the best back-to-school deals for our kids! Whether your kids are at home or in school, check out this post for some of the best deals around, from desks to laptops — and even a coding program for kids.
The Best 12 Roller Backpacks for Kids Going Back to School
If your kids are staying home, it can be helpful to retain some normal aspects of the back-to-school season — and there's nothing more emblematic of this time of year than selecting your kids new backpack. (Even if you're home schooling, you'll need somewhere to store your kids schools stuff!) Here are 12 of our favorite roller bags your kids are going to love.
The Best 18 Kids Face Masks That Kids Will Actually Want to Wear
If your kids are going back to in-person schooling — they're going to need a face mask they'll not only love, but be willing to wear throughout the entire day. Here are 18 of our favorites that light and breathable, washable and reusable and — most importantly — designed to keep your kids and their classmates and teachers, safe.