School may be back in session for many students, but some families across the nation have more on their minds than school supplies and studying. According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 cases are back on the rise, with a 10.6 percent increase in positive cases and a 14.3 percent increase in hospitalizations. The CDC has outlined several prevention strategies for schools, but many families are still left wondering whether a traditional, brick-and-mortar school is the best and safest choice for their child.
Thankfully, you do have a choice. If your local public school is not meeting your child’s needs, take time to look at other valuable options, including charter schools, private academies, homeschooling, and online learning programs. Consider each school’s curriculum, teaching philosophy, costs, and transportation options, as well as its academic performance and ratings. Touring the school will also give you some insight into the environment, culture, and overall safety.
The quick shift to remote learning in previous school years was an eye-opening experience for a lot of parents—with many realizing how valuable online learning programs are for many children. Not only can online learners move at their own pace, but they also receive individualized instruction and feedback, opportunities for peer engagement, and interactive lessons. Many families with children who have specific learning needs that are not addressed by traditional schools have excelled with this option, including:
- Students who struggle with several subjects;
- Gifted and advanced learners;
- Children who learn at a different pace or need more individualized attention;
- Students interested in preparing for a specific college or career;
- Families who choose to homeschool their children and want access to accredited, award-winning curriculum;
- Children of parents in the military or those with overseas commitments;
- Athletes, musicians, and artists preparing for competitions, auditions, or rehearsals;
- Students who are homebound due to illness or other health concerns; or
- Children who are targets of bullying or experience mental health challenges
As a parent, know that you are not alone when it comes to wondering if your child’s current school is the best option. In a recent survey by National School Choice Week, nearly half of all parents surveyed across the country say they’re actively seeking a new school for the 2023-24 school year. And while the reasons for wanting to change schools vary, COVID-19 has remained a valid concern among many parents.
If you have concerns about your child returning to in-person school, or if you think a different school could better meet their needs, it may be time to consider a change. We are so fortunate to live during a time in which there are so many options. So why not pick the school that best celebrates your child’s uniqueness and helps keep them safe?