Back to School and COVID: A Working Parent’s Perspective.

By: Tina McAuley, Director of De Rose Lawyers

I was very nervous when my sons had to return to school this year. I knew they needed to get back into a daily routine with structure that allows them to socialize with their peers again. One son is in grade 7 and the other is in grade 11. I spoke to friends, family and colleagues within the office, and opinions were mixed. Majority of parents were sending their kids back to school, especially those of us who work full time.

Looking back, I knew that I couldn’t go back to the days of homeschooling! Trying to work from home was impossible at times, having meetings over Zoom while my children constantly yelled my name, complained about being hungry, constant fighting with each other or walking by the camera even though I told them people could see them.

What I learned during my time at home with my kids and their virtual learning is that I would make a horrible teacher. My sons were not at all motivated to do their school work online. Between non-stop gaming, eating, sleeping, and phones, school was the last thing they wanted to do. Finally, once I got them sitting in front of the computer, there was constant “I don’t know what to do,” fidgeting in their chairs, playing with the dogs and doing anything but their schoolwork. It was months of struggle.

Between the kids receiving haircuts from me, the lack of wanting to put on fresh clothes, and lack of hygiene, I barely recognized these kids!

When the boys found out that there was an option to return to school, they of course wanted to stay at home and continue virtual class. I could see it play out in my head, sleeping in until noon, gaming all the time, etc. Then, once I got home from work, it would be “we need your help,” and that just wasn’t going to happen for my sanity or theirs.

So, now we’re one month in and the boys have returned to full time school, 5 days a week. Prior to school starting, I received tons of email notifications regarding all the changes happening due to COVID, bus seating, arrows in the hallways, staying in your bubbles, and wearing a mask all day. I found it overwhelming. I thought for sure that I would hear tons of complaints from the boys, that it was too hard to wear a mask all day, that the rules made attending school unbearable.

I am so delighted to say that they are doing great! They have both told me that they are glad to be back in school!! They admitted that home school would not have worked for them and they’re so happy to see their friends again, even with all the existing restrictions. Now that it’s all said and done, there’s a couple of things that I’ve learned from all this.

Our kids are a lot tougher than we give them credit for and I’m glad I never became a teacher!

I believe that missing school has long term effects on our kids. I saw it firsthand with mine. They weren’t functioning at all. Let’s give our support to teachers, schools and communities in every way we can.

Do your part, and let’s all hope that in 2021 COVID will be a thing of the past!

*The above image is for illustration purposes only and is not Tina’s son or any other De Rose family member.