JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Strong opinions from parents after school leaders in Jefferson County decided not to open schools traditionally this fall.
Some parents said they were disappointed in the district’s decision to do remote learning for the first nine weeks of school.
They said they filled out a survey believing their opinions would be heard, but now they said their voices have been silenced.
Julie Pearson had just completed a back to school shopping trip with her kids on Monday.
But on Tuesday, she broke the news to her rising second grader.
“And I had to tell her you’re not going back and she just like…tears started streaming down her face and she’s like, ‘But I want to see my friends, but I want to go back, who’s my teacher going to be,’ and just all the feels, and as a mom, that just gets to you because you want them to have those experiences, obviously safely,” Pearson explained.
Pearson said she lucky to be a stay-at-home-mom but feels for parents who are not.
Sommer Smith and her husband are both essential workers and were counting on schools opening traditionally this fall.
“I have a first grader who needs assistance reading, and that’s not my specialty. That’s why we depend upon these professionals. We depend upon these teachers because we value them and their resources, and what they’re capable of doing, and I can’t do that at home,” Smith explained.
District leaders asked parents and guardians to fill out a survey, hoping to get feedback on how to reopen schools.
80% of those surveys were completed, with 56% wanting remote learning.
“They were talking about the safety measures. Well, if there’s less children that want to go back, you know, traditionally, I would think it would be even easier for them to maintain the social distancing, you know, on a school-by-school basis for the children to be able to safely return to school,” Pearson said.
“So, why not allow these teachers, and these students, and these parents return in these small-group capacities when we are reduced by 56% and get the opportunity to test out the handwashing, to test out the masks, to give the teachers the opportunity to be able to teach in a different environment that keeps the students safe,” Smith said.
Pearson and Smith said they were hopefully the district would come up with solution that would make everyone happy, but they are disappointed with the decision, and feel they haven’t been given a good enough explanation for decision to go with remote learning.