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Classroom Confessionals: ‘Virtual-learning-only forces many parents to pick between staying home to teach or staying employed'

Some parents want kids and classrooms while others are demanding virtual education

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, elementary school students wait for classes to begin in Godley, Texas. As schools reopen around the country, their ability to quickly identify and contain coronavirus outbreaks before they get out of hand is about to be put to the test. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, elementary school students wait for classes to begin in Godley, Texas. As schools reopen around the country, their ability to quickly identify and contain coronavirus outbreaks before they get out of hand is about to be put to the test. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – As the 2020-2021 school year gets closer, the anxiety level appears to be growing for many parents, students and teachers.

Many of them are sharing their thoughts about virtual learning vs. an in-classroom education amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Viewers have been sending in their “classroom confessionals” over the last few weeks. You can see some of the newest submissions below.

If you have an opinion you’d like to share, fill out the prompt under the responses and you could see your opinion published in our next Classroom Confessional article. Find the other confessionals here.

Find more background information about where things currently stand with the Texas education system and the latest education news in our back to school section here.

RELATED: Metro Health issues updated guidance for public, private schools on how, when to reopen classrooms in San Antonio

School districts are requiring teachers to go back to school and teach students remotely at home. There have been plenty of staff that already contracted COVID while on campus. How does this make sense? Our hospitals are almost at capacity now teachers and students will be going back to school.

Anonymous

It is interesting that students have a choice of learning style, but teachers who are adults and more apt to catching COVID and getting complications do not get a choice. Teachers have to go back to teach from their classrooms amongst other teachers. Where is the fairness in that?

Anonymous

I get it, I’m a teacher, special needs kids, they are vulnerable. It’s a tough spot to be in. I want to work with them, but I’m also a caregiver for my disabled brother and help my elderly parents with day to day and their business. So I’m exposed to customers, shopping, and medical visits. It’s too risky.

Santos

If schools are requiring teachers to teach virtually from the classroom, & schools are not allowing students in person, what happens to the children of the teachers? If NEISD can offer child care with virtual education for their teachers’ children, why can’t all districts, or let teachers teach from home?

MM

I am a single, working mother with SOLE custody. My daughter is going into first grade at NEISD. I think the schools should have in-person education or at least provide the option to have it for those of us that want to send our kids. If daycares and camps can be open, why can’t school??

Anonymous

Children do need to be back in school. However, cases are still high, take into consideration teachers, kids, cafeteria and maintenance / janitorial crews who actually are cleaning up after everyone. Not safe to return at his time. Share projected charts from Baptist and Methodist health systems.

Anonymous

Imagine going to work after being at home, safe and healthy. Now, we are being pushed into rooms with 20 students/ rotating every 45 minutes!!!! Seeing 160 students all day - no pencils, no glue, no scissors, can’t share library books-and a mask will keep us safe? Really?

Anonymous

As an educator, the best place for all students, teachers, administrators, librarians, cafeteria personnel, paraprofessionals, custodians, bus drivers and others would be avoiding crowds inside at this time! Sorry, but your property taxes are going to remain unless you rent or move.

Anonymous

I can somewhat see the pressure these state politicians are facing. But how can Abbot and Paxton send their children and/or grandchildren back to in-class school when we have a pandemic (that is worse than the flu)?

Anonymous

I am a teacher w/ NEISD. The district did not ask teachers for input or see if we/loved ones have underlying conditions. We’re being forced to return to buildings to teach virtually and now they’re asking teachers to bring K-5 kids to work to be put in a day care setting! More crowdIng! No safety protocols revealed!

Valerie

I will NOT be sending my child to school. Many parents have different opinions which I understand, but I bet the parents who want their children in school have not lost someone due to COVID. I recently lost my father to this virus, yet parents are saying we need to adjust? There is no adjusting.

Maria

I have been an essential worker the entire time. I am 65 and have underlying health conditions, but I am at work every day. Are teachers and school staff still going to get paid if they are not working? Sorry, but if they are, I do not agree with that at all.

Judy

Stockholm, Sweden never closed their elementary schools. No masks or social distancing there. And not a single kid died. But our corporate media won’t report on that. It goes against their Project Fear narrative. So many kids are going to be left behind.

Anonymous

I am a teacher and I want to return to face to face instruction. I’m worried about the long term effects virtual learning will have on my students, the families who can’t stay home to be with their children, and the mental health of so many. Not all teachers are doing what’s right for students.

Anonymous

If in-person learning begins, it will close numerous times due to outbreaks. Not to mention the teacher not being able to teach due to trying to enforce safety, hand washing, and incidents that would normally be handled by the nurse, but the nurse is limited for COVID-related visits only.

Anonymous

My 5 children will be homeschooled. They will not be part of the great experiment. If things go well my kids will return next year. We loved our elementary school very much, but we live in a different world right now.

Annie

Virtual-learning-only forces many parents to pick between staying home to teach or staying employed. Schools are accommodating teachers’ children by providing in-person classroom supervision for them. Why is a teacher’s child different from an H-E-B worker’s child? A cop’s child? A nurse’s child?

Richard

Most of the comments on here that are for having kids return to schools have the following arguments: 1. My kid learns better in school. 2. It’s such a high survival rate 3. It impacts mental health. None of these reasons are valid reasons for returning back.

Anonymous

I am a mother of 3 and I provide speech therapy to special education students in schools. Many of my students won’t wear a mask and require close proximity. Some drool and put toys and their hands in their mouth. They need to see my face too. How can I do that safely? I don’t think we are ready.

Anonymous

With 2 elementary-aged students wanting to go back to school so badly. I feel for them. I know they need normalcy!! BUT I myself had COVID and was hospitalized for it and lost my mom and uncle due to it. My kids will not return until it’s safe to do so! There is still too much a risk of exposure.

Alicia

Why try to go back to the same when the same no longer exists. Teach reading, writing and arithmetic until we can get back to normal. Each class should have two teachers. One to teach and one to monitor for safety. School day should end early. Provide after school care for parents that need it.

Anonymous

The CDC just came out with a study, have a look parents the information is out there... trust science, not political agendas. This virus has already halted other programs/schools/camps etc. just because it hasn’t hit your household YET. Be blessed and adhere to the guidelines because trust it’s real!

Anonymous

Governor Abbott - It’s sad that you would put the lives of our children in danger. Interesting that most state offices, except for essential personnel, are working the front lines. Everyone else is working from home due to COVID-19 to keep them safe. Why aren’t these children given the same choice?

Anonymous

Why is everyone freaked out over a virus that can’t be controlled? That has a survivable rate of 98%? Since when are y’all guaranteed 100% safety in all that you do? No one was concerned about the “health of your kids” during sniffles and flu season otherwise y’all would’ve kept them home then.

Anonymous

Medical officials admit over and over they do not fully understand this virus. We don’t know long term effects. No one is taking ownership of liability, rather seeking immunity from liability instead. That is the environment the “leaders” are wanting to put my child in... think about that...

Anonymous

Schools should be open. Lots of parents are full time working and/or single parents. They cannot take time away from their jobs to teach their children at home or afford someone to watch them. Their priority at the moment is a roof over their families head and food on the table.

Anonymous

There is no “pandemic”, only phony numbers and lies. The tests are mostly false positives. Schools never should have closed. Kids definitely do not need to wear masks. Distance learning is completely useless and a joke.

Brad

I have a 4- and 10-year old, oldest is in remission for leukemia. My wife and I have decided we will not be sending them back to school and believe it is irresponsible at this point for kids to be back in school in a small room where social distancing is virtually impossible.

Anonymous

Bars are closed to protect patrons, yet schools are being open. Where’s the logic in all this? My children will remain safe at home as long as there is online learning.

Cynthia

If meetings concerning returning to school are being held virtually why in the world would there even be a consideration for sending our children and teachers back into the classroom where we all know kids will not be compliant to safety protocols?

Julie

Has anyone looked at the history of the flu epidemic in 1918? It is the same scenario but we are trying to send our kids back to school. I will not experiment with the safety of my child. They depend on us to keep them safe.

Anonymous

We may publish your thoughts on our website or feature them on our newscasts, but you can remain anonymous if you wish.

The majority of local school districts are set to start the academic year in the next two weeks, however, some teachers and parents still appear to be at odds on how best to provide a productive learning environment.

The Texas Education Agency says it’s up to school boards to decide when their students can go back to in-person learning. With board approval, schools have the option of staying remote-only for up to eight weeks without funding implications. After that, a district would need a waiver from the TEA.

In July, a directive issued by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District prohibited schools in Bexar County from conducting in-person learning until after Sept. 7. But after state leaders said local governments could not keep schools closed strictly as a preventative measure, Metro Health issued an amended order that encourages Bexar County school district leaders to use the city’s school safety indicator tool to decide when it’s safe to open campuses.

CDC recommendations for in-classroom learning include wearing masks, spreading out desks, staggering schedules, eating meals in classrooms instead of cafeterias and adding physical barriers in certain areas.

The TEA guidelines require all teachers and staff to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before heading to campuses every day.

TEA’s guidelines do not recommend temperature checks for students who appear to be asymptomatic but the taking of temperatures is not explicitly prohibited. To read the full public health planning guide from the TEA as it relates to the coronavirus, click here.

Many parents who responded to the KSAT prompt are still concerned that safety measures schools are putting in place still aren’t enough to protect their children.

A common theme appears to be the idea of homeschooling students as opposed to having them return to school once campuses reopen for in-classroom learning.

The Texas Homeschool Coalition recently compiled a list of commonly asked questions to help parents who have chosen this route instead of opting to allow their children to return to campuses.

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