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Dealing with School During a Pandemic


Kids are back in school. Well, some kids are physically back in school while other are learning remotely either on a full-time basis or as part of split schedule where half the class is in school and the other half is at home.

The COVID 19 Pandemic has changed the way parents are handling custody and parenting time, because it has already changed the way children are attending school and every other aspect of childhood as we know it. From learning math to attending playdates, parents must adjust how the arrangements that were previously made will work in the current times.

Most schools are operating remotely at least part time across the country. This means kids are going to have to stay with someone when they are not in school. Former spouses are being forced to re-evaluate their work schedules and arrangements. Many businesses have moved towards a work from home model to keep their employees safe from infection, and this can work to the benefit for those with kids.

As with all custody and parenting time adjustments, this will require cool heads and communication. Even though the school year has already begun, the process for educating children is still fluid throughout the country as infection rates fluctuate. The sooner you set up a virtual teleconference between all concerned parties, namely ex-spouses, andchildren old enough to contribute, the sooner a schedule can be hashed out to everyone’s satisfaction.

Obviously, the hope is that both parents are still working during this time when many Americans have lost their jobs. If one parent is unemployed or has been furloughed, it may seem easier to have that parent in charge of the remote learning aspect of childcare, while the other takes the kids at other times.

The issue for the parent who is looking for work becomes what happens when they are called for a last-minute interview, they find a new job, or the job they had been furloughed from calls them back.

It can really help if you consider yourselves as part of a team in this unprecedented time in history. In fact, many formerly married couples have learned to put aside previous animosities in the face of this new reality. Issues that may have caused explosive arguments just last year may seem unimportant when compared with the real-life struggles many across the world are being faced with. Although a marriage has ended, you must still operate as a family unit, working together to make sure that you allremain healthy and productive.

Parents responsible for supervising remote learning, especially for younger children or those with special needs, do not have it easy. Most programs demand some sort of direction on the part of the parent, a prospect that can be overwhelming if that parent is also getting paid to perform their jobs from home. Children are easily distracted and need to be reminded to stay on task, which makes concentrating on your own work extra challenging. The parent that signs up for that must be prepared to have patience.

Also to consider is whether a parent that works outside the home may work in an environment that exposes them to huge masses of people possibly infected with COVID, such as in healthcare or mass transit. Not everyone is able to work from home, and the greater the chance of being exposed, the more all parties may want to consider adjusting custody to minimize exposure for the children. Most school are asking children to fill out a questionnaire every morning. One of the questions is whether they might have been exposed. If a parent works in an area where they are continuously exposed, then parents or children might be forced to interpret what “exposed” means and answering in the negative when the strict truth might be the opposite.

Everything has changed since the pandemic hit, not the least of which is how we have to parent while trying our hardest to keep the ones we love safe. Hopefully, we can all agree to do what is best for the children, despite past arguments, or how this new reality may inconvenience us.