"How are y'all gonna enjoy wearing those masks to school in a few weeks?" a shopper who was standing entirely close to me at the checkout line asked my daughter and my niece.

"SHE's not going," I replied, pointing to Jireh.

I've already decided that even if I had to look into home school options, Jireh won't be returning to the classroom in August.

In addition to her catching the flu EVERY YEAR since she's been in school, she was born into a family with allergies. She has seasonal allergies and had to use a breathing machine at one point.  In addition to having asthma, I also have diabetes. So, I'm not taking any chances on either of us contracting the coronavirus.   

We wear masks in public and wash our hands or use hand sanitizer regularly. While I believe these practices will be enforced in the classroom, I really don't want my daughter to have to wear a mask all day.  Neither do I want to imagine how it would look to have a lunch or recess time where you can't really interact with your classmates.  It seems like that would be more tortuous than not seeing friends at all.

However, school provides children with a means of developing social skills that are undoubtedly needed to navigate through life.  So, for parents choosing to do virtual learning, here are a few tips to keep your child socially engaged during a partial isolation:

6 Ways to Socially Engage During Virtual Learning

It goes without saying that none of these will apply to every child. However, each one will provide an amount of engagement to make sure children receive some of what they need socially.

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