As we watch the national news and learn about all of the changes in our world, it seems unfathomable the change in paradigm that has eclipsed our thinking. We used to look at Fall as a "when" situation. What will we do for Labor Day? Who will we invite? When will our favorite sports season start? When will school start? When will be buy school supplies? When can we get new school clothes?
Now things are more like this...
Labor Day weekend.... Will places be open? Will we be sheltering in place? What are the limits on group size? What if someone gets the virus?
Sports... Will there be a sports season at any level?
School...Will school be in-person, online, a blend? Is it safe? Do we need supplies? What clothing do we need now? Do we have reliable internet? How do we deal with childcare if school isn't back? Is school safe? What is the infection rate in my town? Do I have to teach my own kids?
It is more than overwhelming. It is frightening. It is upsetting. It is unnerving. And because only the parents can answer the questions about their comfort level, it can be isolating and lonely work to figure out the answers.
For many families school is no longer a safe option because someone in the family is vulnerable in one way or another. I have a family in my online school because mom has Lupus and cannot have her child bring home anything that could sneak past her chemo-exhausted system. Children have asthma, and Cystic Fibrosis, and other lung issues. Grandparents are raising children. It is hard, very hard, to figure out.
If you find yourself in the position of deciding to choose fully online, make sure that the program you choose has "the whole child" in mind. Here at Greenways Academy we created a "House" advisory system to provide a full-spectrum of real-life learning and experiences. We have live instruction and interaction with students. We offer clubs and activities just like in a "real school". We have teams of teachers and administrators who are present and accessible to all parents and students. We have a parent/student support portal. We have developed a delivery method that hooks kids and motivates them to participate. And we have a full-blown program of Social-Emotional Learning that is supported by multiple mental health providers.
These are the kinds of supports all families need in these times, because the last thing you need is one more thing to worry about.