Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Parents struggle as schools reopen amid COVID-19 surge

Published:Tuesday | August 4, 2020 | 12:21 AM
Rachel Adamus waves goodbye to her two children, Paul and Neva, as they ride the bus for the first day of school yesterday in Dallas, Georgia.
Rachel Adamus waves goodbye to her two children, Paul and Neva, as they ride the bus for the first day of school yesterday in Dallas, Georgia.

DALLAS, Georgia (AP):

Putting your child on the bus for the first day of school is always a leap of faith for a parent. Now, on top of the usual worries about youngsters adjusting to new teachers and classmates, there is COVID-19.

Rachel Adamus was feeling those emotions on Monday morning as she got seven-year-old Paul ready for his first day of second grade and prepared five-year-old Neva for the start of kindergarten.

With a new school year beginning this week in some states, Adamus struggled to balance her fears with her belief that her children need the socialisation and instruction that school provides even as the US death toll from the coronavirus has hit about 155,000 and cases are rising in numerous places.

TEARS FLOWED

As the bus pulled away from the curb in the Adamus’ Dallas, Georgia, neighbourhood, the tears finally began to fall.

“We have kept them protected for so long,” said Adamus, who said her aunt died from COVID-19 in Alabama and her husband’s great uncle succumbed to the virus in a New Jersey nursing home. “They haven’t been to restaurants. We only go to parks if no one else is there. We don’t take them to the grocery store. And now they’re going to be in the classroom with however many kids for an entire day with a teacher.”

The Adamus children are among tens of thousands of students across the nation who were set to resume in-person school on Monday for the first time since March. Parents in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee will also be among those navigating the new academic year this week.

Many schools that are resuming in-person instruction are also giving parents a stay-at-home virtual option. Adamus, like many other parents, decided against that. Other schools are planning a hybrid approach, with youngsters alternating between in-person classes and online learning.

But an uptick in COVID-19 cases in many states has prompted districts to scrap in-person classes, at least for the start of the school year, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington.