North Alabama parents creating ‘pods’ to help students socialize, learn during coronavirus

The pods will allow a small group of students to spend time together through out the school year, and limit exposure to Coronavirus.

Posted: Jul 27, 2020 4:00 PM
Updated: Jul 28, 2020 5:22 PM

Parents across North Alabama are creating socialization groups called pods that will allow a small group of students to spend time together throughout the school year and limit possible exposure to coronavirus.

Parents are using a checklist to determine who they want their children to socialize with on a regular basis.

Questions on that list include how many people are living under one roof and if firearms are inside of a home.

"She was just being so secluded in all of this COVID madness," Parent Tara Bailey said about her daughter.

Bailey’s daughter is about to start kindergarten. Bailey is trying to find a way to allow her daughter to socialize and do online school work at the same time.

"I really wanted her to have other kids her age and to be able to manage that in a safe environment," said Bailey.

The solution: Small groups called pods.

"A pod would be a small group of students schooling in a home or maybe going between a couple of homes," said Cyle Lewis, a mother and teacher.

Bailey and some other parents say finding who to include in their pods involves asking sensitive questions.

"You may need to know do they have firearms in their home and are they locked up in a safe. Do they have animals in their homes and are any of the animals aggressive?" said Bailey.

So Bailey and several other parents created a list of questions to help people organize their pods, and posted it on Facebook.

"In order to understand how safe somebody should be or how safe the other family is being," said Bailey.

Lewis is looking to create a pod to teach her kids and a few others.

"My older students, they were telling me that it's difficult to get motivated when you (don't) have people around you," said Lewis.

The full list includes these questions:

  1. How many people reside in your home?
  2. How many people are you comfortable with having in your POD?
  3. What ages are the people who live in your home?
  4. Does anyone work outside the home?
  5. If so, how often? What precautions are required in their work environment?
  6. Do you see anyone on a regular basis? Family, friends, etc…
  7. Do you wear a mask around family and friends when you see them? If you do wear a mask, are you wearing it when interacting with them indoors only or outdoors as well?
  8. What precautions does your household take when going outside the home? Precautions taken upon returning home?
  9. How important are CDC and State recommended COVID-19 precautions to you and your household?
  10. If anyone in your household is knowingly exposed, would you let me know right away?
  11. If exposure occurs will you isolate from the group for two weeks or until a COVID-19 test comes back negative?
  12. If anyone in your household develops any of the COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how minor, will you get tested for COVID-19 and let me know right away?
  13. If someone visits your home, do you take measures to sanitize afterwards?
  14. If someone in your household displays symptoms while a student is in the home, how would you handle the situation until the parent arrives?
  15. Do you have a pool at your home? If so, is there a locked fence around your pool at all times?
  16. Do you or anyone in your household smoke? If so, do they always smoke outside?
  17. Do you have pets in your home, if so what kind?
  18. Do you have any pets in your home who have been known to display aggression?
  19. If you have firearms/weapons in your home, will they be kept in a locked space away from children?
  20. Will children be monitored at all times in your home?
  21. Do you allow free access to internet devices without supervision?

The list can be found on the Facebook group called Safe-at-Home Schooling Support Group Madison County.

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