JCPS teachers, parents weigh pros and cons of returning to in-person instruction

JCPS teachers, parents weigh pros and cons of returning to in-person instruction

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Now that students within Jefferson County Public Schools are going to be back in the classroom starting mid-March, some parents, teachers, and students told WAVE 3 News they feel the hardest part is yet to come after being confined to screens for a year.

“I really miss my school,” said Teagan Bell, a first grader who spent his entire school year doing Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) at home.

While he gets to see his friends via the computer screen in their virtual classroom, his mom, Gretchen Bell, said she is noticing her son is missing out on much needed normalcy.

“We pulled up, and he said, ‘I really miss it here,’” she said. “Kids are used to being home. I think it would be great for him to make eye contact with another kid not through a screen.”

The Bells said they’re unsure what returning to school will bring. However, they said they know the COVID pandemic is still very real.

“My biggest fear is being an asymptomatic carrier to someone who is vulnerable or at risk,” Gretchen Bell said.

Teachers agree. Many of their concerns derive from sanitation on buses, in classrooms, and in hallways and common areas.

“I can say that in Class 204 at Shelby Traditional Academy, we will make it work,” teacher Kristen Logsdon told WAVE 3 News, “but I can’t say that for every classroom or every school.”

Logsdon said there’s another layer beyond COVID that the JCPS safety protocols don’t acknowledge. They are what she calls “outlier situations” that teachers come across every day.

“We have kids at our school who come to school with a lot of trauma on a quote-unquote ‘good day,’” Logsdon explained.

She said protests and record-setting homicide and crime numbers affect many JCPS children directly.

“Look at all the added trauma every single child in Jefferson County has gone through in the last 11 months. That’s a lot!” Logsdon said.

Nonetheless, teachers like Logsdon said they’re committed to making students like Bell welcome in the classroom as they did on the computer screen.

Teachers and educators plan to take the learning curve into account that comes with online to in-person learning.

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