Coronavirus and School. What’s the problem?

student in covid days“Do you think it’s safe for children to go back to school?” I asked my friend who works in a public school.
“Do you think it’s safe for them NOT to go back?” she responded.

Students who have barriers to their education

My friend works in a high school as a social worker. and she works with the students most deeply affected by NOT going back to school.

  • Single parents who have to work and monitor their kids’ schooling.
  • People without a support system to help them navigate these new procedures.
  • Parents whose first language is not English who are trying to help their children access their lessons.
  • Children who struggle to learn anyway, figuring out how to make sense of online school.
  • Parents who work away from home but have children who are too young to stay home alone.
  • Those without the economic stability to correct things like lost chargers or other technology needs.

And more barriers

And that’s not all. There are also the children
  • Whose parents are unemployed.
  • Whose parents are illiterate.
  • Whose parents are abusive.
  • Who have special education needs.
  • Who only received loving attention at school.
  • Who are living with homelessness and loved going to school where the bathrooms and the sinks provided conveniences most of us take for granted.

Neither me nor my friend pretend to have the answers. Returning to school has risks and so does staying home. I am grateful that I do not have to make that call.

What’s the church to do?

This I do know, though. If churches are to build the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, we must respond to these inequities. The truth is, we have children in our churches and in our larger community who need their church family to step up and be present for them. We have young families who need church more than ever to provide a lifeline for them–childcare, technical assistance, tutoring, or a thousand other things. We have senior adults, middle agers, people in all stages of life who need their church. I do not know the answers; I don’t. But I do know we are surrounded by people who need support. And I know Jesus would reach out and lift up those who are struggling.

Three ways the church can help

So what do we do? For one thing, we need to remember that allowing our church family to support us is a gift we can give each other. Think about how much you love helping your loved ones. Is it not a gift that those individuals have given you by letting you serve them in some way? Of course! If you are struggling right now, give your church the privilege of supporting you. You’ll be giving a great gift.

Secondly, we need to think creatively about how we can bless each other. You may have exactly what someone else needs. No service or talent is too small to bring joy to the person in need of that very thing.

Finally, we must have hope. We must not allow the difficulties of this day to cloud the joy of the days to come. This is a moment in time, a difficult one to be sure, but it is just a moment. We will come through it. And if we share our burdens as well as our gifts, we will come through it together, looking a little more like the Kingdom of God.

By Aileen MItchell Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 35 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.