Parents seek answers with COVID-19 cases rising, school year looming

'A lot of uncertainty,' father says
Posted at 5:44 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 09:06:20-04

JUPITER, Fla. — Stephen Mildern said the wheels are already in motion, as school is just around the corner. However, he said so many questions remain for parents of young children.

"A lot uncertainty, lot of uncertainty," he said. "Not sure whether we should put her in, take her out."

Mildern is just one of many parents wondering what to do on multiple fronts.

"Concerns of my daughter getting it, getting super sick, the mother getting super sick, having to miss work," he said. "Just everything. … Not much direction has been helped with parents, pointing us, and which way we should make the decision."

Sonya Haffey, a mother from Palm Beach Gardens, felt strongly about her four kids going in person. But she had lots of questions after contracting COVID-19 last year.

"I am much more nervous this year," she said.

Haffey plans to have her children wear masks.

"My thought is what's different about this year than last year?" she asked. "Nothing. Actually, there were less cases last year than there are currently, and cases were not affecting children, and now they are."

Many parents also are considering whether or not to make their children at school. Dr. Lynda Bideau said they are seeing an increase in children getting COVID-19 at her practice, Children's Physicians.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has just come out with a policy updated in July, and they are recommending children should be back in the classroom," she said. "It's very, very important for children to be in the classroom for social reasons, academic reasons, emotional reasons. They recommend being in the classroom. However, they also recommend children should be wearing masks. All ages, children in the schools. ... It is still a choice for parents, so I recommend to parents for the safety of your child, the safest thing right now is to wear a mask right now, while the numbers are so high."

Kristen Bomas, a licensed psychotherapist, said this is a stressful time.

"I think there are a lot of dynamics that go into the anxiety and stress of parents at this time," she said.

She suggested parents gain clarity first.

"That vagueness will increase anxiety and increase stress," she said. "The very first thing we want to do is look at what makes the parent comfortable and what makes them uncomfortable."

She said get answers to your questions and find your comfort zone. Also, ask your child for input and discuss it with them.

"If you are comfortable with your choice for your child, your anxiety and stress will decrease," Bomas said. "If you are comfortable with your choice for your child, your child will have a much easier way of succeeding in school this year."

She also said make sure you know your plans and be prepared.

"Have a plan for if your child does get COVID that you are comfortable with, that you know how you are going to handle it and what you are going to do," she said. "You must have clarity. You must breathe."