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Polls show a surprising number of parents may not send kids back to school

When will kids go back to school and what will it look like? These are the questions on parents' minds these days, but more and more it looks like school will be a very different experience than what we've previously known when it resumes. And for some parents and teachers, it's just too different.

A recent study published by the Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Center and the University of Michigan finds nearly 1 in 4 parents (21%) in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois are unsure if they'll send kids back to school in fall.

An additional 12% are certain they will not be sending at least one of their children and just two-thirds of parents say they are likely to send kids back to in-person classrooms.

The parents were surveyed between June 12-22 and this data follows a May poll from USA Today/Ipsos that found 6 in 10 parents are considering some form of homeschooling this fall and almost a third of parents (30%) say they are "very likely" to do that.


More than half of Americans support kids returning to in-person classrooms in September, but a separate USA Today/Ipsos poll nearly 9 in 10 teachers "believe it would be hard to enforce social distancing guidelines at school" and parents are concerned about this as well.

"I want a full accounting from the school district and [their] high school about what safety measures are going to be in place to keep my kids safe," a Michigan parent told the University of Michigan survey takers.

An Ohio parent expressed their concerns even more strongly, saying: "My children will not wear masks to school all day long and I will not send them to school if I feel they are going to a jail more than school."

Alternatively, some parents say they are not in a position to choose.

"We have no family to babysit and do not have the funds to hire a babysitter if the kids stay home. If one of us has to stay home to watch them we will likely lose our house," one Ohio respondent explained.

A Michigan parent said they're not loving distance learning and want to send their child back: "I feel like (my child) gets a better education in person. I want her to be able to go to school where she can directly interact with teachers."

The percentage of parents who won't be sending kids back is greater in households with an annual income of less than $50,000. A full 40% of these respondents were unsure if they would send their kids back or certain that they wouldn't send at least one of their kids.

Kao-Ping Chua is a pediatrician and assistant professor at Michigan Medicine and a lead author of the study. He is worried that kids who are already economically vulnerable will be further disadvantaged by the pandemic's impact on education.

"The concern is that this population of vulnerable students may experience, may be more likely to experience educational disruption — potentially exacerbating disparities in education that already exist," Chua told The Detroit Free Press, pointing out that wealthier school districts are more likely to be able to implement recommended safety measures to protect students and staff against COVID-19.

He continues: "There could be an exacerbation between rich and poor districts in terms of the ability to actually implement these measures."

Parents who don't feel confident in their school's ability to implement risk-reduction measures (including requiring face coverings for school staff, alternating between in-person and online classes, staggering arrival and pickup times, daily temperature screens of students and targeted testing of pupils and staff) are less likely to send their kids back.

Likewise, teachers that don't feel safe are less likely to go back to the classroom if they have a choice. One in 5 teachers polled by USA Today/Ipsos said they are unlikely to return to the classroom in the fall.

For parents, the possibility of fewer teachers is just another factor potentially tipping the scales toward homeschooling. The USA Today poll also showed that while Americans support reopening schools in some form, more than half of parents of school-aged kids say they are "very or somewhat likely to switch to at-home learning."

There are so many questions and so few answers about what the 2020-2021 school year will look like. The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for school to re-open, but in the end parents will be the ones who determine who full classrooms are come September.

Chua says a lot can change between now and September: "In our survey, parents expressed a lot of uncertainty regarding their plans for school attendance...Many are waiting to see how schools address safety and how the pandemic evolves. It's very likely that parents' views and plans will change as new information becomes available."

[A version of this post was originally published May 29, 2020. It has been updated.]

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Pop culture might lead us to believe that single people are having all the good sex and us married folks are lucky to get anything at all. But, for a lot of couples, sex gets better after a walk down the aisle.

I'll put it like this: The escapades I had before my husband were a lot like fast food—quick and unsatisfying. On the other hand, married sex is like having a five-star, live-in chef. So, why is it so hard to sell the idea married people are having the best sex of their lives?

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