Parents and In-Person School: Why are they upset?

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Lorelei Zagacki

There is a divide between parents and students on how learning should change before the end of the year, and this split has led to many ideas coming to the forefront schoolboard discussion.

Lorelei Zagacki, Writer

One of the major changes in light of the pandemic has been the transition towards online school, but not everyone is happy with this shift. As the pandemic has persisted, many parents have suggested that schools should return to “in-person” learning, however, schools have taken a different approach. Instead, schools opened up their doors to students but did so on a particular schedule with strict rules and guidelines that must be followed. In addition, and in an effort to appeal to parents who favor in-person learning, schools have also allowed the option for in-person learning as well as virtual learning. Yet, as Wake County’s “middle ground” approach plays out, it seems that some parents have continued to grow more and more frustrated with the situation.

 

Before students were to return to in-person class,  many teachers warned them of the strict guidelines they would be expected to follow in order to return back to school. Still, when faced with the reality of this stricter system of in-person school,  many parents have been left unsatisfied and irate. This frustration between schools and parents has boiled over into a newly posted petition demanding schools to require all students to attend in-person classes during the day. The Go Fund Me petition created by WCPSS parents specifically seeks to raise funds to hire a lawyer to convert schools back to a regular schedule. Parents in favor of the petition, and who chose to utilize Wake County’s in-person option for students, have complained due to the “poor” and “prison” like environment they say has been created. Quoting from the petition, parents have expressed concerns over the potential for mental harm from online education, “I think it will be more depressing and emotionally damaging than being at home.” However, not all WCPSS parents agree with this stance, as other parents were quick to argue against the traditional  in-person approach, “Don’t blame schools for the one kid per class scenario, and the measures put in place are put there to keep your child safe.”. 

 

Looking at these two sides, it is easy to see how controversy and division could exist. From the perspective of parents who favor in-person school, virtual learning has caused a major impact on teens’ mental health, thus encouraging parents and students to make the push for the more social environment they expect in-person education to be. In addition, these parents feel that being at school allows a more productive work schedule as well as support from teachers and staff.  On the other side, parents who prefer digital learning, emphasize that in-person learning does not have any noticeable differences from digital learning. These parents argue that students who are back at school are still learning via the computer, and the only difference between virtual and in-person learning is the environment. Furthermore, these parents argue that online learning allows students to feel safe from COVID while still learning from their teachers  from home.

 

Regardless of one’s position, it is important to be informed when making the choice of in-person or online. To parents who are trying to be as informed as possible, make sure your student is a part of the decision. For parents who may be unaware of their teen’s mental health, this is incredibly important, as it gives students control over what choice is best for them. In addition, an essential step before making an impactful decision is to read the guidelines, especially when the information provided will outline a decision of virtual vs in-person. In the end, it is important to recognize that we here at Green Hope, along with the rest of the world, are still in the middle of a pandemic, so managing our expectations of regular in-person learning is essential as well.

 

As the reader, do you believe parents or students should be the ones to make final decisions about in-person vs virtual learning?

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