Jenna Bush Hager on daughter's fears about online schooling: 'Mommy, I'm scared'

For millions of kids across the country, this school year will be very different.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

Jenna Bush Hager said her daughter, Mila, is concerned about the new school year as she starts classes with remote learning.

“Mila, the other day was like, ‘Mommy, I’m scared.’ And I said, ‘Why are you scared?’ And I have the tendency — I think like you — to say, ‘You don’t need to be scared. You have nothing to be scared about,’” she told Hoda Kotb on Monday’s TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.

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“And she said, ‘Well, I think this year is going to be different. There’s kids in my class that I don’t know.’”

Jenna said she let Mila, 7, know that it was OK to voice her concerns about not attending classes in person.

“And I do think there’s something really important about listening to our kids, to our friends,” she added. “I said, ‘Why do you feel that way?’ And she sort of talked through it. And, I mean, we want that. We want somebody that will listen to us.”

Whether children should attend classes in person or remotely this fall has been fiercely debated by parents, teachers and government officials at all levels throughout the summer. For parents keeping their kids at home, many are worried about the best way to properly navigate learning in a remote environment.

“I know parents are concerned about predators, (kids) clicking on the wrong things and seeing inappropriate things, or looking up test answers on their cell phones and it’s hard for parents who are working to constantly monitor what their child is doing,” Corporal Kenneth Hibbert Jr., an officer in the community policing unit of Prince George County Police Department in Maryland, told TODAY last week.

“Sit them down first and go over expectations saying this is school time and strictly paying attention to what's going on in school is what’s expected," he continued.

Parents wrestling with the prospect of sending their children back to school in person should focus on answering four key questions when weighing the pros and cons of how to proceed.

"There's no perfect decision. Just say, 'I'm going to see what is possible and see what feels right and makes sense for our family this year,' knowing that next year will be completely different," Dr. Tim Lahey, an infectious disease specialist and the director of clinical ethics at the University of Vermont Medical Center, told TODAY.