For the past few months, the uncertainty of COVID-19 has disrupted the life of so many parents and children. As the summer flies by and school is approaching, the anxiety for parents is at an all–time high. Unfortunately, this decision can become even more difficult for parents who share custody. If you are a parent with a school-aged child here are a few factors to consider when discussing with your co-parent the best option for the school year.
Factor 1: Age of the Child
Is your child in kindergarten or is your child in high school? Age is an important factor when deciding whether or not to send your child to school. If your child is in high school, remote learning may be easier for them as opposed to a child in kindergarten, who may require frequent assistance.
Factor 2: Health of Child
Sending a child to school this year should be based on the child’s health history. Does your child have an underlying condition that could make them more susceptible to COVID?
Factor 3: Health of Parents
As a parent your health is equally as important as the health of your child. If you are unable to provide for and care for your child, your child suffers. If you have an underlying condition or are susceptible to getting sick, it may be best to have your child learn virtually.
Factor 4: Work Schedule of Parents
Regardless of health concerns, what does your work schedule look like? Virtual learning could not be feasible for two full-time working parents with a young child. On the other hand, are one of the parents working from home? Your child may learn better virtually in the quiet, while someone checks in on them throughout the day.
Factor 5: What is the school recommending?
Although the decision to send your child to school is yours to make with your co-parent, consider what the school is recommending. Every school is going to be different and it is important to know the protocols that will be enforced. Maybe sending your child to school in-person is the best option for both you and your child but allowing them to participate in after-school activities is not.
If you and your co-parent have discussed the factors listed above and cannot agree consider taking these next steps.
1. Talk to your child’s doctor
Talk to your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor will be able to consider factors more objectively and with less emotion than you and your co-parent. In addition, they can review your child’s health history with you and your co-parent to determine if there are other precautions that can be taken to protect you and your family that you and your co-parent may not have considered.
Choosing mediation is always a better option than bringing this issue straight to court. Have a mediator discuss all the worrisome factors of sending your child to school in the midst of COVID. A mediator may relieve some of the anxiety and stress surrounding the topic rather than focusing on factors you can’t change as parents.
3. Call Marler Law Partners
Sometimes despite everyone’s best intentions reaching an agreement with your co-parent may not be possible. Concerns regarding your child’s health or your child’s schooling are emotional which makes these concerns difficult for people to calmly discuss. If you and your co-parent are unable to agree regarding your child’s health and schooling, reaching out to your attorney is likely your next best step.