By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – As families struggle with remote and in-person learning, some are opting for a “kindergarten gap year” for their children.

Rebecca Hubacher, a mother of three, said decided to hold her daughter Riley out of kindergarten this school year in part because of the pandemic.

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“Kindergarten is going to be sitting in a plexi-glass cube with a mask on. It just hit me, oh my gosh, this is not in the best interest of Riley,” she said.

It’s a trend in many school districts around the country. An Education Week Research Center survey of nearly 500 district leaders and principals found more than half are seeing a decline in kindergarten enrollment.

“Kindergarten is a really big step,” said Gloria Corral, the president and CEO of the Parent Institute for Quality Education

She said many young learners are already feeling behind because schools had to close last spring and they miss out on far more than academics when not in the classroom.

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“Things that we believe are so important as educators is really around creating routines, developing habits, things like self-soothing,” Corral said.

“We worry about the impact that not having children participate in these educational opportunities will have both in the short-term, but importantly, over the long term.”

Hubacher chose to send her daughter Riley to preschool again to avoid virtual learning.

“A five-year-old can’t do that. I’d have to be sitting with her forcing her to do the remote learning. I’ve already seen a huge improvement in her academically and she’s really excited to show me her letters and numbers,” Hubacher said.

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She thinks her daughter will be more than ready for kindergarten next year and hopes things are more normal by then. Staff