By: Betty Lee
Back to school looked a little different last week in Clay County. Parents had the option between in person schooling or virtual learning for the 2020-2021 school year. When arriving at each school’s open house, your temperature was taken, masks had to be worn and the changes in the school year were discussed.
In elementary schools across the county, celebrations and special dinners were cut to help ensure the safety and spread of COVID-19. Parents are not permitted to enter the school and students are broken down into smaller groups, limiting contact with others as much as possible. No sharing of classroom supplies or physical education equipment is allowed, and there is increased sanitizing of playground equipment and shared areas.
Brooke Cobb, a single mother of two who works full-time, made the decision to send her children to school. Brooke says, “When I sat down and weighed the pros and cons of in-person versus virtual schooling, I decided in person was a better fit for my family.” She knew that working 40 plus hours weekly would leave little time for her to focus on giving her children the best education possible. “Being a single mother, I have to take my children to the grocery store, gas stations, restaurants, etc., so what would be the difference in sending them to school? The school is taking every precaution to keep them safe and they will get the education they deserve.” Brooke states that she is not in any way saying in-person is the best answer, but it is the option that works best for her family.
Stephanie Samples of Bomont, a stay at home parent, tells us a little about why she chose virtual schooling for her kindergartner and 3rd grader. Stephanie says, “I was worried about my daughter who is 7 months old with her immune system not being mature enough to handle things such as colds or flus, let alone COVID. We also visit my mother in law a lot, who lives next door, and her son Derrick is severely autistic with health issues of his own. We didn’t want to risk brining any sickness in to either one of them or are trying to stay as healthy as possible.” Stephanie tells me that she has a system that works for her and her children. She sets up times for each subject with breaks, lunch, snack time, and hands on activities such as painting, drawing, reading, and even exercising. She feels that her children need the hands-on things, not just working on a computer.
Whether you are sending your children to school or opting to take part in the virtual learning opportunity, all is hoping for a safe and healthy school year.