By: Leslie Barrows
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Back to School Schedules: The 2021 Academic Year and Virtual School
In-Person or Virtual Learning, Back to School Schedules Impacting Co-Parenting
Southlake family law attorney Leslie Barrows is a boy mom of three and understands the concerns of parents about school schedules and possession schedules during COVID-19. Many independent school districts are offering parents the opportunity for their children attending school in-person or at home doing virtual school. If there was ever a time for patience, understanding, and flexibility, now is that time. Even the most acrimonious co-parenting situations might need to allow for compromise and agreements as conditions continue to change during the COVID-19 outbreak. Southlake family law attorney Leslie Barrows can help you and your family figure out back to school schedules as it may affect co-parenting and custody arrangements. Call the Barrows Firm in Southlake at (817) 481-1583.
See our related article: Emergency Order on Possession and Access Schedules During COVID-19 Pandemic
Kids in the Classroom and at Home for Virtual School
Parents changing their minds about in-person versus virtual school options is a concern among many. For example, Southlake parents with children enrolled in Carroll ISD were asked to decide whether they want their kids to be at school for in-person instruction by August 10, which was two weeks before the start of classes this coming Monday, August 24th. Parents who changed their minds were asked to notify their child’s campus principal in writing. Carroll ISD offers its Dragon Virtual Academy for the first nine-week grading period.
Depending on the ages of your children, their virtual instruction process if different. The schedules for younger students may be easier to adjust to schedules than the older children in blocks from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. where the virtual students will be on a regimented instruction schedule just like the in-person students.
HealthyChildren.org article: Return to School During COVID-19
Possession Schedules Based on School Schedules
Most of the in-person learning and virtual learning occur on the same clock schedules. The students will be structured in the virtual setting at home, much like they were at school for in-person instruction. Instead of mom or dad driving the kids to school, they may not need to leave the house. Even though your possession schedule is based on school calendars, clock times, and schedules, you can adjust to exchanging visitation around the school schedules like normal, even though the children might not be leaving the house.
Ever considered 50/50? Read our article: Divorcing with Children 103 – Equal Access Possession Schedules
Is the School Schedule the Same as Parenting Time?
It is reasonable to anticipate some parents objecting to the other parent having more parenting time with the children when they are at home with the kids during their virtual schooling when they would otherwise be at school with teachers and fellow students in-person. Most parents who have their children at home with them doing virtual learning might joke at the idea of the other parent being jealous of what seems like more time with the children and gladly offer the other parent oversee virtual learning. The technology used by many school districts requires that virtual students at home are active on their computers and working diligently. So even though those children might be at home with the other parent, they are busy and occupied with their classes.
Edutopia article: Why Are Some Kids Thriving During Remote Learning?
Sending Your Children to the Other Parent for Virtual Learning
People with busy careers might not be able to stay at home with their children who are doing virtual learning. This might be a reason to send the kids back for in-person learning instead. But what happens if the other parent, who is a joint managing conservator, objects to in-person learning due to COVID-19 risks? What if the primary parent works in a profession that requires them to be gone from the house every day and the other parent works from home, at least during COVID-19?
Consider agreeing with your co-parent, that during COVID-19 impacting schooling, that the children go to the other parent’s house during the school day, arriving and leaving just as if they were at the school buildings with their teachers and fellow students. Remember, you and the other parent can agree to do whatever you both want with school schedules and possession, falling back on your Court Ordered parenting plan and possession schedule when necessary.
Adjustments to Academic Calendar
Adjusting to scheduling conflicts and challenges requires patience during COVID-19. As kids start going back to school there may be new cases reported causing unknown consequences. Some parents might start sending their children back for in-person instruction and then quickly decide they want to pull them back out of school for virtual learning instead.
Modifications to Possession Schedules to Match School Schedules
Modifying possession schedules is appropriate for parents who cannot co-parent well and need to stick to their Court Order. If school schedules during COVID-19 are a problem, and you have children of varying ages and needs, where some are attending in-person school and others are attending virtual school, you might benefit from a modification. But before you run to Court, remember that a modification case is a new lawsuit with service of process and all the procedural formalities you may recall from your original divorce and custody case. By the time you get to see a judge, during these times, your issues requiring a custody modification could be resolved. Remember that in different counties, there are serious backlogs of cases and parties are only appearing virtually. Alternatively, a temporary agreement between you and the other parent can resolve conflicts with the 2021 school schedules.