There’s so much Americans are divided on these days, including whether kids should return to school in the fall. The American Academy of Pediatrics “strongly advocated” for sending children back, and then softened their stance to highlight how much safety depends on each community’s success containing viral spread. President Trump is pushing for schools to reopen, citing the relative unlikelihood that children die from COVID-19, while teachers are feeling no one is worrying about their health, should they have to go back to their buildings. There are many parents who are vocal about wanting kids to be back in school full-time—and others who are as public about preferring the opposite.
What hasn’t gotten as loud of a voice is the many, many parents who are totally torn about what to do come fall—that is, until Nikki Pennington, of Grief to Hope, spoke up in a now-viral post shared to Facebook on Jul. 15. The blogger mom, who often writes about losing her own mother to cancer, began:
Even though moms are used to not having perfect choices—returning to work from maternity leave sooner than they’re ready, for one—the choices regarding school this year feel so far from OK. The downsides for each one, from putting families at risk for contracting COVID-19 to damaging children’s mental health, are extreme. The sacrifices families have to make for these imperfect options are also extreme. Nikki continues:
And that’s just it: These are decisions parents shouldn’t have to make, and yet here we are. It’s impossible for any choice to feel right—because it’s not.
Nikki goes on to list her very valid worries, to which any parent of school-age kids can relate. As a result, her post has been shared more than 16K times in less than 24 hours.
“I choked up reading this,” commenter Susan Ocuilinn wrote. “It is what I feel. Am I screwing them up socially and emotionally by not sending them? Am I endangering them by sending them back? Nothing feels right.”
Another commenter, Tricia Oberg Girlya, added: “Everything you said is exactly what I’ve been pondering about in my head for days…so many questions, insecurities about what is the right choice and is ‘THAT’ the right one after it’s made?? So many obstacles and hurdles to try and make it work…it’s overwhelming…”
“There will not be a ‘win’ or easy answer this year…no ‘choice’ will be correct and we will be applauded and mocked if we send them back or if we dont send them back,” Kirsten Johns Ross summed up. If we choose hybrid it will be right and wrong. If we follow the guidelines and recommendations it will be right but wrong! From a social/emotional standpoint my little needs to return to school and her teachers and peers. But, am I risking her life if I do that?! Academics can be made up…it is the very real, very deep worry I have about her heart, soul and mind that scares me! As a parent we want to ‘fix’ things but this isn’t something we can fix! It is just so damn overwhelming!! 😢🤬🤯”
Nikki’s whole post is below.