WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Parents and guardians have recently been faced with a challenging decision to decide whether they want their children to return to school or learn remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the state.
Many schools, universities, and colleges have announced their re-opening plans for the upcoming fall over the last couple of weeks.
22News spoke with Amanda Rice, a mother of two and a home health aide for O’Connell Care at Home in Springfield. Rice expressed difficulties her household has faced while trying to maintain what’s best for her family.
“I’m going to have to put my children first…,” Rice said. Her children are first and second-grade Westfield students and both have ADHD, an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “I guess I’m going to have to have the kids do their schooling during the day and then work at night,” Rice added.
Back in March, Rice contracted COVID-19 as a frontline worker which made it even more challenging to assist her children’s remote learning due to her health conditions. Eventually, her kids began to develop symptoms of the virus and fell behind with their school work as they focused on getting better.
Despite her household struggles, Rice managed to have her kids interact with their community’s boys and girls club to gain a sense of normality back and provide her kids with the social interactions they need. “Kids need to be kids and we have to do it in a safe manner, Rice said.
In order to make remote learning easier for children and families, Rice suggests schools provide the workbooks and textbooks students need as opposed to downloading a link and being asked to print every page.
“Not everybody’s economic stance especially now in this economy is going to be able to afford a printer and ink and extra electricity that’s going to be taxed on us because we are using our homes a lot more than we have been.”
Be sure to watch the interview above where the best advice she gives parents who are in a similar situation at 10:53 into the video.
22News also spoke with a Jerilyn Mikulske, a mother to a daughter entering her junior year of college and a son with down syndrome who attends a weekly program.
As a parent, she fully supports her daughter wanting to move back to campus and trusts she and others will follow every heath guideline and safety protocols the state and college have in place. Mikulske added while being a mom to a son with a disability, it was tough at first juggling him being in the house while she was working from home, however, they made it work the best they can.
“It’s a hard situation that we’re all in. In these times we need to come together, build each other up, and spread positivity.”Jerilyn Mikulske