JCPS parents want board to ‘look at the science’ when making decision on in-person learning

JCPS parents want board to ‘look at the science’ when making decision on in-person learning

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education will make a decision Thursday that is months in the making: whether or not to return to in-person learning.

The decision has weighed heavy on parents like Lindsay Jones since March.

“I kind of feel like we’re being held hostage at this point and frankly, I feel like our children’s education is being politicized,” Jones told WAVE 3 News on Thursday.

Jones’ 5-year-old son Aaron is a kindergarten student at Stopher Elementary. For the past year, he’s been learning through Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI), excelling on the academic side of instruction.

However, despite his good grades, Jones said her son is struggling emotionally.

“He’s doing well in the lessons and he’s actually ahead of the curve in everything he’s been assessed on,” Jones said. “He’s doing well academically, but emotionally [and] socially it’s really taken a toll on him.”

While her family navigates NTI, Megan Zoeller is preparing for what the summer may bring. As a prospective JCPS mother, she told WAVE 3 News her daughter is expected to start kindergarten in August.

Zoeller said it’s a worrisome thought because her husband is immuno-compromised.

She explained she has been watching what happens within JCPS closely to give her an idea of what to expect by the summer. Zoeller said she hopes everyone in her family can be vaccinated by the start of the new school year so she can feel more comfortable sending her daughter to the classroom

“I mean, a lot can happen between now and August,” she said. “Hopefully by that time, they would have some information or have a plan in place so they can give the parents so they can make a more informed decision.”

Zoeller and Jones are among many who have voiced their opinions on the matter.

On Monday, JCPS offered a tour of both Gutermuth Elementary School and Central High Magnet Career Academy to show how district schools would function once they reopen to in-person classes. A day later, several parents held a ‘Let Them Learn’ rally outside Van Hoose Education Center in an attempt to convince the board to open schools to in-person learning.

Then, Governor Andy Beshear announced during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday that he signed an executive order urging all schools to resume some form of in-person learning.

Despite the recent action and the decline in COVID-19 cases, some families are not comfortable going back to the classroom just yet.

“Part of you as a parent project what school should be like and what experiences they should have as a child, and then kind of weighing that against what’s best for health of your family,” Zoeller said.

As thousands of parents wait for answers from the school board, Jones is hoping board members think about the students before they cast their vote.

“Everybody’s situation is different, but we’ve not been given any options and it’s been a year now,” Jones said.

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