For some families, return to school is a difficult decision

Posted at 11:20 AM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 19:22:41-04

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (NBC 26) -- The decision to return to school is one that's weighing heavily on some families.

Families we talked with expressed a desire to have their kids be in the classroom. They've already been away from school for several months, and some parents are starting to see the effects.

“My kindergartner moving into first grade has regressed in a lot of different ways," Neenah parent Azziza Proctor said. “My kids thrive, they have just thrived being in a public classroom traditional setting. It’s been so good for them.”

Experts said there are real risk of developmental impacts with children during this pandemic.

“School does provide a prime environment for kids to develop socially and cognitively and emotionally," Sherman Counseling clinical director Casey Hanson said. “I can say as a parent myself - I am not trained to be a teacher. Parents do not have the same skill level or expertise that educators have in training and learning models.”

In the coming weeks, many parents will balance those learning needs with the need to keep their children safe during the coronavirus pandemic. There are risks that come with returning to class.

Proctor has a daughter who's immunocompromised. There could be major consequences if she gets the virus.

“It is hard, and that isn’t a reason we all need to go back to school buildings," Proctor said. "That’s a reason we need to come up with creative solutions and work together in different ways than we are now.”

Proctor said she many have to consider homeschooling as an option. Other parents we talked with said they're excited to have their children return to class.

“As long as they’re going to school and they’re learning then they won’t be behind and they’ll be okay," parent Cassandra Hegner said. “They miss all of their friends, and my daughter missed the end of her fifth grade year, and they just can’t wait to see everybody.”

These are just a few of the many factors parents will consider in these decisions. There's a desire to go back to school, and just as strong a desire to do it safely.

This week, NBC 26 will bring you a special 'Safely Back to School' series. Throughout the week we'll be exploring many different sides to this issue - from homeschooling, to athletics, colleges, and more.