Months after the coronavirus pandemic abruptly shuttered classrooms across the United States, many states have considered reopening schools even as the virus continues to spread at an alarming rate. Georgia, Mississippi, Indiana and Tennessee are among the first set of states to finally reopen their doors following the calls and outcries from individuals and groups for the need to get the American students back on the learning track.
Although most of the schools appear to have put in place reasonably safe environments to welcome students back, fears and anxieties have been expressed by some parents over if these measures are enough to guarantee the safety of their kids. If you’re a parent and you’re concerned about the safety of your kids, you may be wondering if you can possibly keep them from school to reduce their risk of exposure.
In this article, you will learn the position of relevant education laws that can help you make an informed decision on the issue.
What Has The Situation Been Like Since Some Schools Reopened?
- Over the last few weeks since schools reopened in some states, there has been a 90% rise in the number of coronavirus cases among children in the United States, according to a recent analysis by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
It was reported that several clusters of COVID-19 cases emerged in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi schools within a few days of resumption. As a result, school districts in many states, including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Oklahoma directed students, teachers and staff members to quarantine following reports of at least 230 cases of coronavirus linked to their institutions.
- The climbing statistics of the virus transmission among students following the reopening of the schools is concerning, giving many parents enough reason to hold on to their skeptical view about the readiness of their kids’ schools to keep their wards safe.
Recently, a student of North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia posted a photo on Twitter showing a crowded school hallway with only a few visible face masks. After receiving scathing criticism from the public, the management of the school was forced to suddenly change their plans. The students of the school only attended classes on campus for a week before going into full online learning the following week.
Can You Keep Your Kid From School Over Coronavirus Concern?
- Depending on a number of factors such as age ranges and states, it is compulsory for children in the United States to attend some approved form of school between the ages of about 5-7 through 16-18. However, exemptions exist for children from religious families and families who can demonstrate mastery and expertise of the required skills and knowledge for the age groups of their children.
In addition, education requirements vary largely depending on whether a child attends a private, public, charter and parochial school. Before you prevent your kid from going back to school, it is important you speak to your school board about the options that exist for your family.
- You may be granted an exemption or special arrangement for virtual learning if your child or someone in your family is high risk for COVID-19. Following this route, your school district could remain compliant with disability laws.
If none of these options work for you, you may opt for a temporary homeschooling for your kid. However, not all states permit homeschooling, and in cases where it is permitted, the processes of getting approval can be difficult depending on your reasons.
Understand The Education Laws In Your State
- There are many complicated, and nuanced dimensions to laws regarding education in the U.S. For example, every state has truancy laws, or related laws which place responsibilities on parents or guardians to ensure that minors under their care remain in school during school time. Parents who fail to comply with the law may face legal consequences. These can include fines, and in rare cases, jail time.
Nevertheless, the unprecedented nature of this time will likely have impact on the enforcement of truancy. This is largely because school districts are willing to collaborate with parents in finding ways to allow their kids to receive education without posing a threat to the health and safety of anyone involved.
Before taking any action, it is important you consult an education lawyer who will be able to guide you on the right choice to make. Although the health of your kids is very important, you want to act within the ambit of relevant existing education law.