Are you sending your child to school?

Update: The West Ada School District closed schools a few hours after this was published.

I have spent more time reading the news this past week, than ever before. I regularly check CNN, the Idaho Statesman, Apple News, Google News,, CDC and the World Health Organization. I listened to Gov. Brad Little’s press conference on Friday and have listened to multiple podcasts interviewing infectious disease specialists. I am trying to learn all I can, so I can make informed decisions for my children and my family in the wake of at least five coronavirus cases confirmed in Idaho. 

Some Idaho districts and charter schools are choosing to cancel classes for the coming weeks. Today, we learned the West Ada School District will still be holding school on Monday.

I was surprised. 

My kids asked me why school wasn’t cancelled. They argued, “if everyone is supposed to avoid large crowds, not attend church, and Idaho colleges have moved online, then why are we still going to school?” 

Two of my kids attend a high school with over 2,000 students. Two of my kids attend a middle school with over 1,000 students. My youngest attends an elementary school with over 400 students. Each school is a large crowd. 

The CDC recommends that no one attends gatherings of 50 people or more

We’ve decided my kids will not be going to school. 

Most of my kids’ friends will not be going to school.

We want to avoid exposure. We don’t want to get the virus or spread the virus (some spread might be possible before you show symptoms).

My kids are worried about the virus, but now they also are worried about missing school. They have assignments due and tests to take (including an AP test and a senior project). They are worried about high school graduation.

I hope schools make a plan for alternate types of education.

There are lots of ways for our kids to keep learning. Elementary schools could create daily packets of worksheets and reading assignments, to be picked up by the parents and returned to the schools at the end of each week. Teachers could find alternate learning methods that utilize online educational tools. Teachers could send students and parents links to the assignments. I recognize it would be a lot of work, but it is possible. 

If families choose to keep their children home during this pandemic, I hope schools create plans for helping parents continue to educate their children when they are home. 


Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

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