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Kevin’s Story: Making the Choice to Go Back to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

School will be back in session soon, and 12-year-old Kevin Nguyen will be glad to be back in the classroom.

Like many students, Kevin took classes online during the 2020 school year. He spent hours in front of the computer trying to learn with his classmates. But his father, Van Nguyen, said he knew the experience Kevin had outside the classroom last year wasn’t ideal.

“Kevin was a straight-A student,” Van said. “But his grades fell during virtual school. He didn’t like virtual school, and I feel like he withdrew a little bit because of that.”

Other Considerations for Kevin

Van understands parents may struggle with sending their children back to the classroom while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“Every parent is going to have some of the same concerns and worries that their kids are going to get the protection they need,” Van said. “But most parents want their kids to be able to learn in person.”

Kevin’s family had extra factors to consider. He had a cancer diagnosis and had been through weeks of treatments – including two brain surgeries.

Van said that Kevin’s health is improving, most notably his vision is better than it was before his diagnosis. And they involved Kevin’s care team in the choice to return to the classroom.

When it came time to make the decision about whether it was right to go back to the classroom, there was a lot to consider. But the Nguyen family left that choice to Kevin.

Flexibility and optimism are key to the way the Nguyen family is approaching Kevin’s return to school. He’ll be back in the classroom, but the family is willing to change and alter plans as the pandemic – and Kevin’s needs – change.

While Kevin did decide to go back to school in-person without any restrictions, Van said the door is always open if something changes.

“If it doesn’t work out or things change, we can always go back to virtual school. That’s an option for us,” Van said.

Kevin is also going back to school without a 504 Plan. Sometimes children with medical concerns (like a cancer diagnosis) have these plans to help them succeed in the classroom.

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