Parents share concern over in-person learning ahead of new school year

With another COVID spike, there are questions about whether school districts should switch to...
With another COVID spike, there are questions about whether school districts should switch to full-on virtual learning, instead of in-person.(Storyblocks)
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As thousands of kids in the Capital Area prepare to return to school next week, there are questions about whether school districts should do full-on virtual learning, instead of in-person.

That sums up Tameka Roby and a lot of other parents’ feelings as their kids prepare to return to school next week. With growing concerns surrounding Louisiana’s recent spike in COVID cases, there are questions about whether school districts should switch to full-on virtual learning, instead of in-person.

“What’s more important, my kid’s health or my kid’s education,” asked Roby.

In wake of the record number of cases and hesitancy to return to the classroom, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System is still allowing parents to enroll their kids in the EBR Virtual Academy.

A representative from the superintendent’s office said students will be placed on a waiting list, and from there, they’ll begin opening spots to let students in.

Both of Roby’s kids are middle school students in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System but the choice to go virtual is a tough one in her household.

“I really want to leave them both at home so they can do virtual but I don’t want my son to fail the eighth grade,” explained Roby.

Her son struggled with the Virtual Academy last school year but her daughter excelled. Roby added she feels caught between a rock and hard place.

“It’s not fair to his sister, who did really well virtually with no problem, but he’s not a self-starter and he needs an educator with him,” noted Roby.

Even with that virtual choice on the table, there are a lot of parents choosing to send their kids back but they’re still worried.

“Cases are on the rise and it’s a battle,” said Tundra Alfred.

Her daughter has an underlying health condition but she feels the in-person interaction is too valuable to give up.

“She asked to go to school and we told her we have to check with the doctors and make sure if you get the vaccine that you’d be OK and if that’s the case, then we’ll let you go to school,” explained Alfred.

Both Alfred and Roby say they would like to see the start of school pushed back to after Labor Day until a safer plan is made. They understand that’s unlikely at this point but they would like to see more guidelines in place.

“As a parent, it’s my job to send my kids to school safely and it’s just not a safe situation for anyone,” added Roby.

The Ascension Parish School System will allow its students to go virtual if they don’t feel safe but each student will have to request a program form from their respective school’s principal.

The West Feliciana Parish School System is not offering a virtual option but there are special options for medically fragile students. For more information, you can call the central office at 225-635-3891.

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