Back to School: Parents Are Saying “No”

The pandemic restrictions have been seen by some as dehumanizing which is why many homeschool parents are choosing to continue with their current learning path this fall. The virus is also scaring many other parents into keeping their children close to avoid the risk of exposure. Another set of parents may also be concerned about how the CDC is responding and the measures that have been put into place.

In May, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued school reopening guidelines that called for the following:

● Strict social distancing tactics

● All-day mask wearing for most students and teachers

● Staggered attendance

● Daily health checks

● No gym or cafeteria use

● Restricted playground access and limited toy-sharing

● Tight controls on visitors to school buildings, including parents

School districts had to rush to adjust the plans they had in place for reopening this fall. When the parents received word of what was going on, they began to look into alternative learning options. This is understandable, especially since the virus can spike at any time.

Rachael Cohen, a mom in Florida, said these social distancing measures prompted her to commit to homeschooling her three children this fall.

“Mandated masks, as well as rigid and arbitrary rules and requirements regarding the use and location of their bodies, will serve to dehumanize, disconnect, and intimidate students,”

Cohen said in an interview.

Rachael aims to create more schooling options in her area and is even working on facilitating a self-directed learning community for homeschoolers nearby. This community will focus on nature-based education.

“There is quite a lot of interest,” she says.

According to a recent USA Today/Ipsos poll, 60 percent of parents surveyed said they will likely choose at-home learning even if the schools reopen for in-person learning. Thirty percent of parents surveyed said they were “very likely” to keep their children home. Some parents may decide to keep ties with their school district and learn remotely through them, but there has been quite a massive number of parents deciding to do otherwise. Parents are really not happy about the strict social distancing requirements and many are feeling unsure and unsafe, preferring to just keep their children in their own care.

The number of parents that sent in homeschool notices in North Carolina was so high at one point that the state’s nonpublic education website crashed. Other parents are only wanting to delay enrollment while they gather their bearings. Due to low registration rates, and a loss of control, school officials are digging in deep. Some districts even went so far as to actually “block” parents from homeschooling, causing outrage.

After several months of learning at home with their children, parents may not be so willing to simply go along with rules set by school districts and may instead prefer to explore other options for their child’s education. Initially pushed into homeschooling this spring by the pandemic, many parents have decided they actually prefer it and are now going willingly, and eagerly, down this increasingly popular educational path.

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