Parents sound off on Chesapeake Public Schools' decision to continue in-person learning

Posted at 3:55 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 02:27:47-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Students who attend Chesapeake Public Schools will continue in-person learning after the school board voted in favor of remaining in its current status Monday night.

"Using this report, you can see the presence of this disease is not concentrated in any one building or area,” School Division Superintendent Dr. Jared Cotton said during a presentation, “but is evenly distributed across the district."

Tuesday morning, parents such as Samantha Lester and Alana Nelson sounded off.

"I am not in favor of the decision made last night,” Lester said. “I am concerned about our friends in Option 1."

"It was very emotionally overwhelming. I felt very betrayed."

The two said they hoped the school district would choose to return to virtual learning as Chesapeake saw the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases since July, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The director of the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and prevention said last week schools can remain open, citing the fact that cases in schools were acquired outside of the school building.

"The classrooms are full,” Lester said. “There are not enough pictures online to show how tight these desks are and these children are to one another."

She shared pictures one elementary school posted on social media showing students close together. One school insider, who wished to remain anonymous, said that it is a concern.

"You feel inexplicably vulnerable,” the insider said. “We know kids are coming to school sick; we know that parents are sick, and they're sending their kids to school sick, and there's nothing that we can do about it."

Both parents also said that in-person learning should be available for children with certain circumstances, like special education. Nelson said she has a child with autism and said virtual learning has been hard for her child.

"There is no point in time where she's able to do her work independently,” Nelson said. “She requires one-to-one assistance through every step of the process."

Dr. Cotton said the school district will deal with each school individually if a school sees cases rising or outbreaks.

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