Sending a child off to kindergarten has a deep emotional resonance in the lives of many parents. They fill social media with pictures of their children standing with oversized backpacks or holding signs marking the occasions. Schools lean into this, too, soothing worried parents or shy children with orientations and classroom visits.
The pandemic has disrupted all of that. And there are signs that families are holding off on registering their children for kindergarten, perhaps waiting to see what school may look like before committing. Districts around the country have reported that they are seeing enrollment numbers lower than what would be typical for this time of year.