In-Person or Online? COVID-19 Schooling Tough Choice

In-Person or Online? COVID-19 Schooling Tough Choice - About Islam

In-person: Good but Risky?

Families in the Arab world and some other cultures largely live in neighboring houses, and it is easy to share some responsibilities and ask for favors.

The case in the US is slightly different. Besides the fact that about 1 in every four children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adult in the house, families tend to be scattered in distant areas and sometimes states.

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This setup leaves little options for parents to freely move around unless they are able to secure a paid babysitter.

When the children go to school, this allows parents to go to work during that time and thus be able to provide for the family, which makes an in-person option a preferred one.

However, the risk of contacting COVID-19 is high, especially among kids who are not expected to keep good hygiene all the time at school. Even when schools force a strict system and rules to keep COVID-19 transmission low, one mistake is sufficient to cause a far-reaching catastrophe. 

In Texas, after only eight days into the beginning of school, 13 students tested positive for COVID-19 in the Hardin-Jefferson Independent School District.

The district superintendent Brad McEachern said that “the majority of the cases at HJHS are tied to areas where students have periods of time when they are not masked such as athletics and other extracurricular activities.”

Those 13 students have 13 families that are now under a direct threat of contracting the disease, and those family members might get in contact with even more people during work or shopping. The ripple effect can go on and on. 

So maybe going online is safer? Well, yes, but it might not be the best idea either.

In-Person or Online? COVID-19 Schooling Tough Choice - About Islam

Online: Safe but…

Although it might be safer to keep the children at home to limit their exposure to the virus, it doesn’t limit the parents’ exposure to financial calamities.

Students, especially young ones, would need adult attention throughout their “school day” in order to keep up with their online classes and assignments.

There has to be a dedicated computer and good internet connection to allow the daily streaming of hours of video chatting, and there has to be a quiet environment where the child would be able to focus and hear their teacher. This translates to money at the end of the day. 

A parent needs to be present with the child; this means that they need to find a different work arrangement, which might not be possible or might have forced them into choosing a less favorable job with a flexible schedule.

A computer and a good internet connection is another burden they have to carry, and a quiet environment means that the other children in the house have to be silenced, adding to the overall level of stress.

On the side of the children, they are now expected to perform the — usually — unenjoyable part of school that is the school work and sitting down listening to the teacher, while they miss out on the fun part of interacting with their classmates.

They would be pushed by their parents to catch up with their work, while their parents are being pushed to catch up with their work to bring money to the house.

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