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Parents, guardians of some Caddo students apprehensive about start of in-person classes

Parents still can have their children placed on waiting list for virtual option, School District spokeswoman says
(Source: Gray TV file photo)
(Source: Gray TV file photo)(WBRC)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:19 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 at 4:23 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Parents and guardians of some Caddo public school students are apprehensive about the start of in-person classes Monday, Aug. 23.

And they say they’ve asked the Caddo School District office whether there will be a virtual learning option.

Ann White, concerned about her granddaughter attending classes in person, told KSLA News 12 that she has been told there is a waiting list. And when she inquired, she said, she also was asked whether they had received a letter.

The School District confirmed Tuesday, Aug. 17 that there is a waiting list.

“All Caddo families were presented with a virtual option for the 2021-2022 school year during the spring semester before school let out,” Caddo Schools spokeswoman Charnae McDonald told KSLA News 12. This information was communicated through all channels, including automated calls/texts, emails, website and school social pages.”

The original deadline to enroll a student in virtual learning for the upcoming school year was in May.

“We do respect that the situation has changed since May; and we are working diligently to respect those wishes of the families that have requested virtual over the summer and since the virus has changed,” Caddo schools Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree said.

“We have parents calling every day. We have schools calling for parents. Our staff is working diligently to identify the necessary staff to cover the additional families that are requesting virtual. It’s almost like opening a new school because that wasn’t the plan when we made our budgetary decisions for this school year.”

Vernell Alexander told KSLA News 12 that she fears COVID-19, having lost three friends she said had been vaccinated and had no underlying conditions. She too wants the virtual option for her child and said she also has been told that her child would be put on a waiting list.

“The School Board and superintendent are sending our kids into a war zone without ammunition to fight,” Alexander said. “This is an invisible killer.

“As a taxpayer, I should have the right to choose with Caddo whether my child is virtual or whether my child should go to school. I’ve spoken to the School Board, and they have given me the runaround. I am very frustrated,” Alexander continued.

“You can’t sit and twiddle your thumbs until school starts on Monday to wait to decide what you’re going to do. If Bossier Parish can decide they are offering virtual learning weeks ago, Caddo can do the same.”

Parents should contact their child’s school if they did not sign up for virtual learning by the deadline last spring but now want that option because of the latest COVID-19 surge, said Charnae McDonald, the School District spokeswoman.

Virtual students will follow the same academic calendar as traditional learning students, Charnae McDonald said.

Dozens of other parents attended the School Board meeting Tuesday, Aug. 17 — the last School Board meeting before the first day of classes — to voice their concerns on several issues, from virtual learning to the statewide mask mandate.

”If you support masks, you are supporting the censorship of our students and cutting off their basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Paige Hawthpower, one of the concerned parents at Tuesday’s meeting.

While other parents who addressed board members agreed with her, there were several other parents who didn’t.

”If these kids get COVID and they have to suffer for the rest of their lives, the blood will be on the School Board’s hands,” Robert Tyler said.

The Caddo School Board meets at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Below is the agenda for the Aug. 17 meeting of the Caddo School Board:

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