Co-Parent Disputes Over In-Person Learning During COVID-19

Factors to Consider for In-Person Learning During the Pandemic

COVID-19 cases continue to decline as the vaccine rolls out throughout the nation, and as a result, life is slowly returning to normal. Schools, restaurants, and offices are some of the many places that are opening back up, leaving parents questioning whether or not to send their children back to school.

According to a national survey by the USC Center for Economic and Social Research, about 41% of parents report wanting their child to do virtual learning under current COVID-19 conditions, while 35% opt for in-person instruction, and 21% prefer a hybrid model that combines both in-person and online classes. The national representative survey also reveals higher-income parents were more likely to want their kids to go back to school compared to lower-earning parents.

No matter the status of COVID-19’s impact on public health, a number of parents will inevitably want to protect their children from the virus by keeping them home, nonetheless. Many other parents, however, are ready to get their children back in school as soon as possible.

But co-parents don’t always see eye-to-eye, especially during the pandemic. Circumstances are still fluid, and co-parents must consider all the important factors before deciding to keep their children home or send them back to school.

If you and your ex-spouse can’t seem to agree on your child’s education during COVID-19, consider the following elements:

  • The level of COVID-19 in your child’s school
  • The school’s re-opening plans for safe in-person learning
  • The school’s resources to effectively implement the re-opening plans
  • The school’s response plans to someone testing positive for COVID-19
  • Mask requirements at the school
  • The level of COVID-19 in your community
  • Your child’s underlying health conditions, if any
  • Your child’s ability to follow the school’s safety protocol
  • Your child’s transportation means
  • Your household members’ health
  • Who comes into contact with you, your child, their school, and your household members

What happens if you and your ex STILL cannot agree on whether or not to send your child back to school? Frankly, it comes down to your divorce decree and custodial arrangements.

If you share joint legal custody, you and your former spouse are responsible for reaching a mutual decision on your child’s education. However, if one parent has sole legal custody, they are the ultimate decision-maker in these situations.

Although you and your ex could have never anticipated a global pandemic, it’s crucial to keep your child’s best interests at the forefront of all your decisions. We understand that even if you want to send your child back for in-person learning, your decision could put your loved ones’ health at risk.

The topic of sending children back to school during COVID-19 is not a simple and straightforward matter. But with the help of our Westchester County lawyers, we can help make the process easier. Our team includes skilled mediators who can help you and your ex form an agreement on your child’s education, and if that doesn’t work, our attorneys can advocate for you in court.

Let us know what’s going on and we can help you achieve solutions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at (845) 605-4330!

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