Parents react to federal government pressure to reopen schools to fullest extent

There is no greater joy than seeing your child happy.

Tiffany Kirkland and husband Hasaan are rising to the challenge of shielding their two young children from the detriments of a pandemic.

“The mental and emotional stress children are going through, it’s probably the most hardest for my daughter,” Kirkland said.

Norah, who is 6 years old, is too young to fully understand the anxiety roller coaster her parents are on.

“My husband and I both work full time,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland, a mother of two, wants nothing more than to get back to normal, but the question is: will she be comfortable to send her kids back to school this fall?

On Wednesday, the Trump administration continued to put pressures on every state to reopen schools to the fullest extent this fall.

The federal government said it is vital, especially for special needs children and other vulnerable kids, to get back to school because they rely on the institution for needs other than just academics.

They are also concerned over the detrimental economic impacts with parents unable to fully go back to work.

But Kirkland said the situation with COVID-19 is too uncertain with cases rising and she does not feel safe sending her kids back to school.

She also mentioned how the virus is killing African Americans disproportionately more and that is an additional concern for her family.

“I am not comfortable at all with his position and his push to reopen schools,” Kirkland said.

One thing she agrees with President Trump on is how unrealistic the CDC guidelines are for school districts to implement.

“But at the same time my response is not sending kids to school,” Kirkland said.

Instead, she is seriously considering joining forces with a couple of other families to form what’s known as a micro school. Kirkland said the idea is to hire a certified teacher to homeschool a small group of kids. 

“That reduces the ratio, the students to teacher ratio,” Kirkland said.

As this Renton family looks for unconventional ways forward,the Buss family in Chehalis said their options are slim.

“Right now I fall in the camp that the benefits of being in school far outweigh the risks for my child,” Brandon Buss said.

Buss said their income shrunk when his wife Kaeli had to start homeschooling their 3 kids. 

Buss says that has put financial strain on them but they have managed to pull through.

But the father of 3 is more concerned about how chaotic life will continue to be if there is no school to go back to full time.

“It would be chaotic for us as a family unit. So much of our day to day life is built around schools,” Buss said.

Buss said it is hard to watch his children struggle not just with remote learning but the lack of social interactions affecting all kids. 

“I completely understand the gentleman’s sentiment. I understand the predicament he is in,” Kirkland said.

They have different opinions about schools reopening in the fall but Buss and Kirkland can relate on the importance of keeping their children happy and safe.