Can’t decide between physical or virtual school? This CDC tool will help

It can seem like there are simultaneously infinite choices and none at the same time.

back to school decision tool

There are so many decisions parents have to make regarding the back-to-school season and no roadmap. We haven't lived through this before so it's hard to know what choices are best because it can seem like there are simultaneously infinite choices and none at the same time.

That's why the CDC is providing a decision tool to help parents figure out the best way get their kids back into the classroom, whether that's virtual or physical.

You can view the questions online (or print it as a PDF) and use your answers to inform your choices about the upcoming school year.


cdc back to school decision tool

"It is important to consider the full spectrum of risks involved in both in-person and virtual learning options," the CDC notes. "Parents, guardians, and caregivers should weigh the relative health risks of COVID-19 transmission from in-personal instruction against the educational, social-behavioral, and emotional risks of providing no in-person instruction when deciding between these two options."

As Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explained this week in-person schooling has emotional and sometimes even nutritional benefits for children and elevates the need for parents to drastically alter their work schedules, but it's not going to work for everyone across the United States.

"There may be some areas where the level of virus is so high that it would not be prudent to bring the children back to school," Fauci said Monday. "So you can't make one statement about bringing children back to school in this country, it depends on where you are."

Whether your children go back to school in-person depends on your location, your family's health, your child's needs, your employment and your risk tolerance. It's highly individualized, something the CDC recognizes in its decision tool.

"Recognizing that there may be many unknowns, answer each question with a check in the column that most closely reflects you and your family today," the CDC notes. "Multiple checks in the 'Unsure' or 'Disagree' columns might warrant a conversation with school administrators, your healthcare provider, or your employer."

There is no right or wrong decision right now, mama. There are just millions of parents trying to make the best decision they can when everything about this school year feels wrong.

In This Article