The answer is: I don’t know but we have to decide by July 30th. We have the option to send the kids to school or have them virtual school at home. We don’t know what either will look like but it also sounds like we’re not going to know until the school knows how many kids they’re dealing with.
I do think we will be sending DC2 [update: things have gotten worse in the South– now we’re not sure]. Zie is still in the age range where there’s not a lot of transmission and cases tend to be mild, with a few exceptions [update: some new articles have come out suggesting transmission rates may be higher than previous articles suggested, but it is still unclear]. Hir pediatrician is very good and we trust him to be on top of things and the nearest city has a top rate children’s hospital should it come to that. And zie has been a handful this summer. I suspect we won’t be using after-care like we usually do and I’m not sure if we will be using the bus.
It’s harder to decide for DC1 [update: we’ve pretty much decided DC1 will virtual school for at least the first grading period]. Zie is 13 and in high school. Kids these ages are much more like adults in terms of transmission and effects. Plus, DC1 doesn’t get sick very often (zie has perfect attendance awards almost every year of schooling), but when zie does get sick and it’s something zie didn’t contract back in daycare many years ago, zie gets really sick. Hir tonsils and adenoids have also become less protective overtime (which is good because it means hir teeth straightened out and zie doesn’t need to have surgery to remove them, but also means they’re not as protective.)
Plus, DC1 is young for hir grade and could take a gap year and still be early for college. I don’t want to have hir skip a year of math, but precalc is one of the less useful years, and we could in theory get it somewhere else and waive it somehow. And… DC1 has been pretty good at entertaining hirself and doing schoolwork hirself without interaction.
The big thing is that no matter what we do with the kids, I am still going in to teach two days a week. I will still have classes of college students, and these classes are going to be bigger than usual because the other people teaching the section are all teaching online, so suddenly my 8am section looks attractive. Even though they’ve added another section so there are more teachers than usual. So… I’m fairly sure I am going to get it even if I opt out of all of the conference travel I currently have planned.
If I get it, it is likely my family will too. I suppose I could quarantine myself in the house and not see my family for the duration. But even so it’s likely I will transmit it to my kids. And if they get it from me, does it matter if they get it from school? Should I be worried about them transmitting it to their classmates (again, less concerned about DC2)? These are really hard questions. I don’t have an answer yet. I do promise that we will be very good about not sending kids to school with the slightest fever or drippy nose, but that doesn’t help with pre-symptomatic spreading. Maybe we keep them home if/when I get sick?
The NYTimes recently posted a survey they did back in May in which they asked a bunch of epidemiologists if they planned to send their kids to school. Most of the ones who had kids said that they would. Most of the ones without kids said they would not recommend it. Having had DC2 home for months, I empathize with the epidemiologists willing to take the risk.
Update: This more recent article from NPR suggests numbers you should look at while making the decision. The numbers for our county suggest that we should be keeping both kids home.
We’ve also gotten some more information about the way that Virtual learning will work at the high school. It looks like DC1 will be able to take all but one of the classes zie has requested. Ironically the class not offered online is computer programming. We may see if we can work something out for that class since DH can easily teach any lesson if DC1 is allowed to just do the work. The alternative would be to take AP Physics 1 which wouldn’t be so bad if zie wasn’t already taking AP US History (which is a lot of work) and Pre-AP Chemistry (hard and a lot of work). Another alternative would be to take AP Statistics , but then zie doesn’t have a math class for senior year.
Right now (as of last Friday) I think there’s a 98% chance DC1 will be staying home at least for the first part of the year. I give DC2 an even 50%… I want to check the numbers again before July 30th and I would like to know how dual language will be addressed.
We’re also allowed to switch from virtual to in-person at the end of a grading period, so that may be the right thing to do– see what happens in the first 6 weeks of school and then send them in. There’s a non-negative possibility that all of school will be shut down by then.
Grumpeteers with school-age children: How are you making the decision about sending your kids back to school in the fall? Has your school district made that decision for you already?