LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday schools need to be “fully operational” in the U.S. by the fall. According to the Associated Press, she said it’s not a matter of “if” schools need to reopen, it’s a matter of how because students across the country have fallen behind.
School districts in Kentucky and Indiana are working on their reopening plans. Many districts in Southern Indiana, like Greater Clark Community Schools, New Albany Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation and Scott County District 2 have released their plans.
Jefferson County Public Schools have not released their plan yet. JCPS officials told WAVE 3 News Wednesday they are looking at all possibilities for reopening, including in-person instruction, in-person instruction and a virtual learning option or all non-traditional instruction (NTI). The district plans to share more details with parents in the coming weeks.
While schools finalize their plans, parents are having to make the decision of whether they want to send their kids back to the classroom.
"I'm not going to be sending my children back until COVID is gone," Katrice Gill, a JCPS mother of four, told WAVE 3 News.
Gill said she doesn't feel comfortable sending her kids back to school because the virus is not going away, and she said cases seem to be rising all over the place.
“The procedures they got [sic] of keeping a kid in a face mask for eight hours and keeping them, like, I’m not going to be able to do it,” Gill said.
She said she’s planning to home school her kids unless JCPS offers a fully NTI option. She’s talking to other parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids to school so they can home school together.
"If four of five moms can have the same 10 children," Gill said. "Of course we will go by the same procedure of checking fevers, making sure there's no temperatures and things like that so we can do our own home school so they can still get their education and they are safe."
Gill said she doesn’t think she would feel comfortable sending her kids back to the classroom until COVID-19 is gone and a vaccine is available.
While some parents like Gill don't feel comfortable, others, like Kyle West, plan to send their kids back to the classroom.
“As a parent, it’s always a concern about the safety of our children and I think every family is a little different,” West told WAVE 3 News. “I feel for our kids the best is for them to go to school they do a lot better than just learning online.”
West said it's easy for his three kids to get distracted, so he thinks sending them back to school in Scott County District 2 will help them learn better.
Scott County District 2 has released two plans for parents- one option for online learning and another for in-person.
“I feel like [the district has] gone over every possible option that there is,” West said. “As far as other families that are not at that point where they aren’t ready to send their kids out, I 100-percent understand that. It’s a parent’s decision. it’s kind of one of those double-edged swords: you send them or you don’t send them. You don’t really know what the right answer is, but for our family, the best option is to send them.”