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Challenge: Back to School

Schools are reopening and my state just set the nation's single-day record for positive coronavirus cases

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With the 2020/2021 school year on the horizon

during a global health pandemic,

living in the state of Florida, which just today, on July 12th, shattered the national record for single-day positive coronaviruses cases with 15k+,

I'm spending my 12th wedding anniversary incessantly and frantically mulling over the fact that I've only got five freakin' coffee-fueled days to decide what to do for my rising 4th and 1st grader and for my youngest who will be in PreK-4.

These are my options:

1) send them to their school buildings, armored with masks, sanitizer, and good hygiene habits

2) keep them home (where they've been since March) and hope they can stay motivated, focused and on track with e-learning through their public school

3) do virtual school through the county

Personally, it's always been clear that if given a choice, I'd choose e-learning through our actual school site instead of the county. I love our school, and that's the long and short of it.

But, choosing between on-site learning and e-learning, well, that has been really fudgin' challenging.

And when I'm faced with tough decisions, I do the least tough thing I can think of, the easiest thing any of us can do when it comes to any choice between two or more things...

I make a pro/con list.

And so here's what we've got:

Pros of E-Learning:

Kids are with me and safe.

I'm in control of their distancing and mask-wearing.

We get more time together as a family.

I get to watch and help with their learning and personal and academic growth more than I ever would have if they were gone from seven hours a day.

I will learn more about myself and grow as a person during this process.

My kids won't be able to be "asymptomatic" and unknowingly infect others like their dear friends or amazing teachers.

Their risk of catching the virus will be minimized.

Our relationship with one another will be tested, magnified, and maximized.

Cons of E-Learning:

They will miss their friends.

I will never have any time for myself.

My work will slip if I can even keep up with it at all.

The house/laundry/you name it will slip.

They will be less driven at home.

They will feel left out.

Pros of On-Site Instruction:

They'll get friend and teacher interaction.

They'll be able to concentrate better and do better, more rapidly, when faced with learning new material.

I will have time for me, my work, my writing, exercise, self-care, and anything else I need.

Cons of On-Site Instruction:

They have a greater chance of contracting Covid-19, which could not affect them at all, only moderately, OR COULD affect them very seriously, even fatally.

They have a greater chance of unknowingly passing on the virus to the very people they care for so much, their teachers, and their friends.

I guess it's a no brainer when I look at the list.

That being said, I know I'm one of the lucky few who has the privilege, luxury, or whatever you would call it even to have the option to stay home with my kids. It's not lost on me that others have a much harder decision to face.

Make your pro and con list.

Undoubtedly, it's going to look different than mine.

Because we all live different lives.

We all have different kids, jobs, bills, and pressures.

I just want you to know that a pro/con list, while somewhat juvenile and perhaps an unsophisticated way of dealing with a problem, can be helpful.

I also want you to know that whatever choice you make and whoever you make it for -- your child, you, your family, your neighbors, your community, or your country -- so long as you thought it out and didn't submit your intent on a whim,

you're doing the right thing for you and yours.

But we've still got to right by each other, right?

And how do we that?

By being kind to our friends and neighbors whose pro/con list led them to a different decision than us.

We are in this together whether or not we are in the classroom together.

I promise you that.

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