A new school year is set to begin in a few weeks, and that means a major decision for parents in West Alabama: will you send your child back to a traditional classroom?

My daughter will be a third grader at Tuscaloosa Magnet Elementary. We absolutely adore the faculty and staff, and I know she can't wait to see all her friends again. The classroom experience is an important part of her education. She needs to learn how to follow rules, how to apply classroom lessons in the real world, and how to be a good friend and teammate.


She's an only child, so the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for her. She needs to be around other kids--not just to play and have fun, but to learn how to socialize with others.

And if I am being honest, distance learning isn't my favorite option because it is SO HARD. Working a demanding full-time job while also ensuring that an elementary student stays on track with Google Classroom lessons is a Sisyphean task. We barely skated through the end of the spring semester.


Do I feel comfortable sending her back? Not really. I worry about her exposure to the novel Coronavirus. I worry about her friends and teachers, too. Think of ALL the students and ALL teachers and ALL of the other faculty and staff and then tell me that there is NO chance that any one of these individuals has been in direct contact with someone who has the novel Coronavirus.

What happens when a student or teacher gets sick? Do we just have to shut everything down again and go back to distance learning for everyone?

Wouldn't it be easier to choose the distance learning option so you can plan for the worst?

I have ten days to make my decision, and it's not an easy task. What will you choose for your kids this year?

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