Menu
new cdc guidelines on reopening

Parents are scrambling to plan for the upcoming school year as a patchwork of imperfect and often contradictory school re-entry plans are being rolled out by districts across the nation.

On Friday, federal officials once again stressed the need for children to get back into the classroom, following the release of a new Centers for Disease Control report calling for reopening and stressing how COVID-19 "death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults." The package contradicts an earlier internal CDC document, which argued against reopening schools.

This come as, according to Education Week's reopening tracker, 9 of the 15 largest school districts in the country are still choosing distance learning over reopening classrooms, meaning 2 million students will be going back to school at home, against the wishes of the President and without funding for remote education in place.


Senate lawmakers are still debating a plan to invest $105 billion in education with $70 billion earmarked for K-12 education—with at least half of that $70 billion being contingent on schools reopening physical classrooms—as both President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have stated schools should be denied access to financial resources if they continue with distance learning.

This week, President Trump stated that, "If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their children to the public, private, charter, religious or home school," and that, "All families should be empowered to make the decision that is right for their circumstance."

Certainly, all families should be empowered to make the best decision for their kids, but public education advocates are critical of these reopening plans and suggest that further erosion of public school funding would actually result in fewer choices for lower-income families, and exacerbates systemic racism by giving BIPOC children fewer opportunities for a safe education and more opportunities to catch COVID-19.

They worry that as wealthy parents move to private schools and tutors the inequity inherent in the U.S., the public school system will only get worse. When it comes to accessing private education options, many parents do not have that choice.

Some Republican Senators believe they have a solution to that. Tennessee's Sen. Lamar Alexander and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott recently introduced the School Choice Now Act, which aims to provide emergency federal funding for state-approved scholarship-granting organizations to allow lower-income families more access to private schools.

"All parents, regardless of income or circumstance, should be able to decide which school best meets their child's needs, whether that school is public or private," Alexander said in a statement to media this week. "The School Choice Now Act provides scholarships to students to have the opportunity to return to the private school they attended before the pandemic— and gives other students a new opportunity to attend private school."

President Trump recently said, "school choice is the civil rights statement of the year, of the decade and probably beyond because all children have to have access to quality education."

But even if the School Choice Now Act passes, there are still gaps in the plan, and in President Trump's off-the-cuff statement about redirecting money to parents.

Even if funding was redistributed from schools to parents, not all schools are opening. As the New York Times reports, even the private school the President's son Barron attends, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, does not plan to fully open and will either start the year with a hybrid model or do full distance learning again.

Where school funding goes remains to be seen as the Senate is still finalizing plans, but polls suggest that while the President says he would feel confident sending his son and grandkids back to school, the majority of American parents don't feel the same way.

According to new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 60% of parents would prefer schools wait until it is safer to reopen, and parents of color (76%) are even more likely than white parents (51%) to prefer to wait for reopening. Parents are divided politically on this issue, with 87% of Democrats and 59% of independents wanting schools open later and 60% of Republican parents wanting schools to open on time.

They say necessity is the mother of invention—and nothing makes you more inventive than motherhood.

Sometimes that means fashioning a diaper out of paper towels and your older child's underpants (true story). Sometimes that means creating an innovative and life-changing weighted baby sleep sack and totally crushing it on Shark Tank. Tara Williams is the latter.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

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

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

Shop

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

Keep reading Show less
Life