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In-Person or Online Learning: A Difficult Decision for Parents with Joint Custody

With COVID-19 still prevalent in the U.S., this fall, parents must make an important decision concerning their children's education: have them return to traditional, face-to-face learning, or have them do online-only learning.

In much of the country, when the pandemic hit, many schools turned to remote instruction to decrease in-person contact and help slow the spread of the virus. In the months leading up to the new school year, administrators had been trying to find the best solution for ensuring that students receive a quality education while also protecting the safety of students, teachers, staff, as well as the community as a whole.

In-Person and Online Learning Have Their Pros and Cons

In Texas, some school districts have decided to allow in-person instruction with various safety precautions in place, such as placing desks 6 feet apart, installing dividers, and posting health and safety reminders. However, even though measures may be implemented, there is still the risk of catching and/or spreading COVID-19. As an example, some U.S. colleges and universities tried in-person instruction, only to have to return to remote learning within a couple of weeks of reopening.

Because educators are aware of the risks of returning to traditional instruction, other Texas districts have chosen to implement virtual learning, where students attend classes online at home. Although this mode of teaching decreases the chances of a person contracting COVID-19, it also has its drawbacks. When schools first implemented this form of instruction at the beginning of the pandemic, parents found it difficult to keep their children on task, and those working from home had trouble juggling parenting/schooling duties with work demands. Also, some students struggled with being physically distanced from their peers.

The Difficulty Parents with Joint Custody Face When Making Education Decisions

The different learning options have been especially trying on parents with joint custody of their children. Under Texas law, when parents are named joint managing conservators, each has the independent right to make decisions concerning their children's education. They must also confer with the other before finalizing their choice. But when one parent wants their child to do online learning and the other wants in-person learning, that can lead to tense arguments.

Developing a Specific Parenting Plan

One remedy for settling the disagreements concerning decisions about a child's education is developing a parenting plan for joint managing conservatorship, stipulating that one person has the exclusive right to enroll children in school. At The Law Office of Gregory C. Goline, our Denton lawyers have started writing orders with such a term. It is included as its own separate and specific right over and above "making educational decisions."

If you're involved in a child custody matter, contact us at (940) 400-0475. We'll help develop an agreement to protect the best interests of your family.

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