I have two daughters, one in Kindergarten and the other in 2nd grade. We purchased our home in a nice area in Norfolk, VA, 2 block from the decently rated elementary school, a great feature of the neighborhood. Last year, my youngest was in Pre-K (we are military and qualify for the city’s Pre-K program) and my oldest was in 1st grade. In any case, I sat in on the school board virtual meeting in the summer, where it became clear that there was no leadership. There was therefore no plan to actually open. There was only one member pushing for more planning, because we will eventually need to get there at some point—so why not put a plan in place? The superintendent said it was the board’s responsibility. In any case, I knew I had to find another option. So, I started researching private schools and found several options. We decided on a parish Catholic school that had plans in place to open in person with COVID mitigation policies in place. The cost was not much more than what we would pay for our kids to sit in front of a computer at the YMCA-run school camp. It has been the best decision we made, and we will not be returning to the public school next year. Also, to add frustration, the YMCA holds the day camp in the cafeteria of the school that is not open. The school isn’t safe to open for classes but it’s safe to open for daycare, with some teachers teaching from the classroom down the hall (W.H. Taylor Elementary, Norfolk, VA). Some of our friends gambled and went with the virtual option, hoping the school would open eventually. They are now regretting that decision.

This submission has been lightly edited for clarity.