Remote learning "defeats the point of kindergarten," Megyn Kelly tells PEOPLE in an exclusive new interview

By Charlotte Triggs and Jen Juneau
October 24, 2020 10:30 AM
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As far as Megyn Kelly is concerned, there is no substitution for face-to-face time in a classroom.

PEOPLE recently chatted with the television journalist and mother of three, 49, when she revealed that "thankfully" her children — sons Thatcher Bray, 7, and Edward Yates, 11, plus daughter Yardley Evans, 9½ — have "gone back to school" in person, amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

"My boys went back to school in September and my daughter just went back to school this week. And it's glorious. I'm so thankful," says Kelly. "I feel really strongly that the schools need to be back opened. Not just mine — mine are open now, so I don't need to advocate for my kids. But what is healthy for the children is for them to be in school."

The former Fox News and NBC anchor believes that "enough schools have opened around the country — including in areas like New York, where we were ground zero on the pandemic — [and] have done it saintly, where they're keeping the teachers and the students well. There have been a couple cases here and there, but they're in pods."

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Megyn Kelly
| Credit: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty

"They know how to do the contact tracing [and] they've kept the schools open," she continues. "I admire how well they've done the planning and the execution of it. And I think given the incredible dangers of keeping the schools closed when it comes to abuse, nourishment, socioeconomic status and the lack of actually getting on the Zoom or getting to the learning, the balance has completely shifted."

Kelly's youngest child, son Thatcher, "did remote kindergarten" at the end of last school year, after the pandemic hit the United States. And she believes the practice "defeats the point of kindergarten."

"You send them to kindergarten so they can go and be with their little buddies and learn the first buds of socialization, and how to handle conflict and how to share," she tells PEOPLE. "You're not really sending them there to learn that red is red, and this is black. You can teach them that in an afternoon."

"So I have to say kindergarten via remote, which we did last year during the spring, is a bummer," adds The Megyn Kelly Show podcast host. "That is not the way it was meant to be."

Megyn Kelly
| Credit: John Medina/Getty

Kelly and her family have certainly experienced some of the more difficult parts of the health crisis. Earlier this year, they mourned the loss of Don Sorel, Yates' music teacher, who died of coronavirus. The journalist talked to PEOPLE in April about Sorel's death, and the "awful" moment when she and husband Douglas Brunt had to tell their son the bad news after it initially seemed like his teacher was recovering.

"I'm in the middle of this joyful moment with Yates and [Doug] shows me the [news] and it's like, 'Oh my God, what am I going to do?' " Kelly said at the time. " 'Am I going to ruin this moment? But he's got to know. We have to tell them because all the boys are Zooming and they're all on this group text where they text every 2 minutes. There's no keeping it from him.' "

So Kelly and Brunt, 49, "sat [Yates] down and told him" once they learned school had been canceled the following day out of respect for Sorel, "and it was awful. It was just awful."

"I couldn't get it out without crying, and then he cried. We held each other," she added.

Kelly recently launched an eponymous podcast, The Megyn Kelly Show, which debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in September.

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