When the chaos surrounding COVID-19 began in early March, it caught everyone by surprise. When we found out our spring break would be longer than expected our family embraced a little more time together. Fifteen days to slow the spread is what we were told. Our family was willing to do our part, and we took the social distancing recommendation seriously.
Fifteen days came and went. The return to school date kept getting delayed. Our sons’ soccer season was delayed and finally canceled. Graduation for our senior was up in the air and eventually dramatically altered.
We love our school district and our teachers. They did the best they could in crisis mode adjusting to online education. But it is not the same. I witnessed my cheerful, easy-going sons retreat, lose their motivation, and have emotional moments throughout the uncertainty.
During this time, we were fortunate to be home with our family, helping our children as best we could, but I frequently thought of the children across this nation who didn’t have the safe, encouraging environment for effective learning.
If my children—who had never had any type of mental health challenges and were in a loving, encouraging environment—were struggling, I can’t imagine the challenges for kids who had much tougher circumstances.
Fifteen days turned into four weeks, 8 weeks, and now 160+ days later “slow the spread” has become “eradicate a virus.” While Democrat-run cities are fighting to keep our children locked away, we have a president fighting every day for our kids. I appreciate that President Trump is unapologetically standing up for the well-being of American children who need to get back in the classroom.
COVID-19 is real. There is no argument there. That being said, children are extremely low risk for a severe illness or death from coronavirus. The “cure” for our nation cannot be worse than the virus itself. The repercussions of the decisions to close schools, cancel youth sports, and extracurricular activities is not in the best interest of our nation’s children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has called for the safe reopening of schools this fall and for in-person classes to resume, citing how schools reduce children’s risk of abuse, drug addiction, and suicide. The unintended consequences of keeping schools closed could damage our children’s education for years to come and hinder our country’s economic comeback.
We are fortunate to live in a district that made the decision to go back to school in person, every day. I have never seen my children so excited for the first day of school. It is what the kids want. It is without a doubt what our nation’s children need.