‘It’s different for everybody’: Why some JCPS students, teachers will continue virtual instruction

More than 35% of middle and high school students will continue virtual instruction starting April 5

‘It’s different for everybody’: Why some JCPS students, teachers will continue virtual instruction

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - About 35% of all JCPS students will continue with virtual instruction for the rest of the semester, even as their classmates return to in-person classes part-time with a hybrid education model.

When middle and high school students return to class after spring break, Cynthia Howard told WAVE 3 News her granddaughter Jerzee, a senior at Eastern High School, will still be learning online.

“You know it’s different for everybody but for us, there were more positives staying at home,” she said. “She said ‘Well I don’t know why they think it’s safe to go back when the numbers are higher when they were last spring when this started.’”

The family had concerns about COVID-19 coming back home; Howard said she already contracted the virus but is still considered high risk.

“It’s too hard to figure out who’s got it and who doesn’t. Many young people are asymptomatic,” she said.

Howards said her family is now navigating what comes next, like graduation and college. She hopes they are all vaccinated in time to attend an in-person commencement ceremony.

With more than 100,000 students across the district, 37.3% of middle school students and 39.1% of high school students will continue virtual instruction starting April 5. Elementary students began hybrid learning March 17 and 18, but 31.1% of those students remained with virtual instruction.

Some JCPS educators will also remain virtual for the rest of the semester. About 13% of the districts 6,700 teachers were granted accommodations to telecommute and teach from home, according to JCPS.

“I will be disappointed that I will not be able... that I will not be able to hug my students,” W.E.B. DuBois Academy teacher Natalie Rashad said. “I’m going to miss not seeing them eye-to-eye. Of course, with social distancing, even if I were back in the building, I wouldn’t have that element.”

Rashad said she is among the teachers who will work virtually; she told WAVE 3 News she has a preexisting condition and chose not to get the vaccine and requested accommodation.

“I think that there’s a misconception that by staying virtual we’re somehow doing less work but I’m actually doing twice as much work,” she said. “I will have all my same students. I’ll just twice as many classes. I’ll have all my virtual and all my in-person [students].”

Although she chose not to return to teaching in-person, Rashad said students will benefit from being in a physical classroom, especially if they need academic or personal support.

“I’m very glad that we are returning in person. I don’t want it to seem as though because I am not medically safe to go back that I don’t think going back is a good thing. I do think going back in person is a good thing for a lot students,” she said.

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