If you live in an area that has made distance learning mandatory or have opted to enroll your kids in their school’s online classroom alternative, you might think it has several benefits. Along with not needing to spend money on school supplies and back-to-school clothing. you also don’t have to rush around in the morning to get kids ready for a bus or car trip to school.
However, for some students, showing up for their virtual class in their pajamas is a big no-no.
The Springfield School District in Springfield, Illinois, has recently made the news because it updated its student handbook to say that its dress code applies to kids taking classes online. The code calls for “school-appropriate clothing” and mentions that pajama pants are not allowed.
Some parents are embracing the rule, agreeing with the district that it fosters a sense of respect and personal responsibility. Others are less than thrilled about the regulation, saying that it puts up additional barriers to learning for the district’s 14,000 students during an already stressful time.
“I don’t think they have any right to say what happens in my house,” Springfield parent Elizabeth Ballinger told WCIA. “I think they have enough to worry about as opposed to what the kids are wearing.”
Other schools are still trying to figure out whether they will implement similar rules.
For example, Leander Independent School District in Leander, Texas, posted its current dress code online, which states that no pajamas, sleepwear, or house slippers of any kind are permitted at school.
A spokesperson for the district told KVUE, “We will follow the same dress code as in-person learning.” However, that person also noted, “Our new dress code is still in development and will be presented to the board on Aug. 20 for approval.”
Given other challenges caused by the pandemic, educators are not listing policing clothing choices as a top priority.
“The most important thing is that our students are engaged and looking forward to learning.” Leander ISD said in a recent Facebook post. “We strive to always provide our students with clear guidance in dressing for school in a way that is appropriate, comfortable, and allows them to learn.”
And in a statement to WCIA, Springfield school officials noted that its policy would be addressed on an individual basis with flexibility built in.
“We do not intend to be punitive or to prescribe what students wear at home during remote learning,” they said in the statement, “especially in this period of uncertainty and adjustment for students, families and staff. If there is a specific concern as it relates to dress code, we will address it individually with the student and their family.”