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Classroom Confessionals: ‘My son started school today, he was excited and so was I'

Here's what San Antonio-area residents think about in-person vs. virtual learning

Students at school, wearing masks.
Students at school, wearing masks. (Students at school, wearing masks.)

SAN ANTONIO – While the majority of San Antonio-area school districts have started the academic year online a few have seen students return to classrooms.

In-person vs. virtual learning is still a hot-button issue as parents, students and teachers share their thoughts regarding the best option for how to continue student’s education amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Viewers have been sending in their “classroom confessionals” over the last few weeks and you can see some of the newest submissions below. Responses in this article were sent in Aug. 14 - 17. Another Classroom Confessional article is forthcoming.

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. You can also have your voice heard in the comment section below. Find past 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: What we know about reopening schools in San Antonio right now

Americans have freedoms like no other nation. Ponder the freedoms you experience every day- walking down the street without being accosted to sitting in your residence knowing the police can’t come after you without a warrant. Now imagine anyone having the right to harass you because you don’t follow a rule.

Anonymous

I’ve been a teacher for 40 yrs. I am terrified!! I teach Physical Education/Health to 1st thru 5th graders. I love my job so much, but I will not sacrifice my health, especially the health of my students!! They come first. They always have!! Time to retire. God is good!! Keep schools closed!!!

Maria

I think NEISD has come up with a decent plan for the gradual opening of schools. My concern? Will they ignore the numbers and push to open like the state of Texas did or will they follow the opening criteria and keep everyone as safe as they can be in this situation?? Time will tell.

Anonymous

Let’s all learn quickly from Boerne ISD...opened on Wednesday. Two days later first case. This virus is changing...the nature of a virus...kids are not immune. Teachers are not immune. These kids, these teachers are going to get it and the spread will continue. I don’t want to bring this home.

Anonymous

I desperately want my kids to return to school...but death is not a fair price to pay. As a teacher...I have to be at school to teach virtually and even now without kids it doesn’t feel safe. Every door, handle, etc. is exposure. Not worth my life or my children. Let’s learn from Georgia!

Anonymous

I worked at an elementary school for many years and there are parents that send their child to school sick. If that sick child is in the classroom prior to going to the nurse, all of those kids were exposed. For socialization, be creative at home. Pick a couple of kids to come over for school.

Anonymous

Irrespective of what TEA decides, parents have to decide if the cost of education is worth more than the cost of their child’s life. Virtual learning is no different from any other school change, kids and parents have to get used to it. There’s no education worth placing your child’s life at risk.

Anonymous

Many children have older or at risk parents/guardians or caregivers, like grandparents and aunts, before and/or after school. While children may have a lower death rate, they can still spread the virus. How is it beneficial to create an environment that potentially leaves kids without caregivers?

Anonymous

I am a nurse in an LTC facility and a single mom of one very bright 7 year old. I’m around COVID-19 at work 40 hours a week. I’m not going to further increase his risk by sending him to school. Yes, I think he needs to be in the classroom but I feel it’s far too soon. This virus is far from over.

Anonymous

All 5 of our [kids] are staying home and virtually learning. With me. I understand that for some parents it is a necessity to send them to school and that is sad. We are very proactive with them. Lazy parents don’t get it. This isn’t fair to teachers, either. On top of being underpaid already.

P.H.

I’m a grandpa of two beautiful girls and I don’t think we will send our girls to school just so they can get sick. We as a nation should wait for a vaccine because what good is school going to do my girls if they’re dead? Are our schools going to take responsibility for any child that gets sick in school?

Anonymous

I am a mother of 2 children. Have one going to high school with really bad asthma and my little one in middle school. I take care of my father who has high blood pressure and other health issues. I didn’t bring my children into this world to get sick and die. Don’t need my father getting sick. Doing school at home.

Anonymous

I am a grandfather. My 5-year-old granddaughter, her 1-year-old sister, and parents live in my home because her father lost his job. My wife is diabetic. I am a retired classroom teacher, 24 years. I know what it is like in that room. Virtual learning should be a no brainer now and for the future.

Reuben

If a student is missing a vaccine required to attend public school, they’re not allowed to attend until they have been vaccinated. This protocol is in place for diseases that ALREADY have a vaccine. COVID-19 has no known vaccine as of yet. Why did this change now???

Anonymous

The schools will do whatever they can to keep their students safe. BUT, what about the “latch key” students? The students that walk or ride the bus home and go home to an empty house? They will take their mask off as soon as they leave school or get off the bus and take all those germs home.

Anonymous

I have 2 daughters both have ADHD and my youngest has 2 special education classes. I just had back surgery and on a weekly basis have eye injections and laser surgery. I am no help to my kids on the computer. I cannot see. I want them in school to get the help they need. Healthwise I don’t.

Anonymous

My 2 grandsons will be returning to school, 2nd grade and PreK. What are working parents supposed to do? As nerve-wracking as it is there’s no other choice but to send them back.

Anonymous

Although it is different this year, we must keep our children safe. Yes, as we adults have to go back to work and provide for our families, we must keep our children at home safe. Children do not know how to maintain hygiene or keep social distancing.

Annie

Why are teachers the only profession that get to decide whether they go back to work or not? Do people who work in supermarkets make this kind of fuss? We need to put our children’s future first -- not kowtow to teacher’s unions which could care less how they impact a child’s future.

Anonymous

I have a freshman who wants to be back in school but I feel he needs to be in class for certain courses. I’d rather him be home than risk any exposure but I also work in healthcare and not sending him defeats the purpose of possible exposure as I face everyday. Still uncertain of it all.

Anonymous

I am a recent graduate of UTSA and I have decided NOT to teach this year because can you really trust anyone around you??? My kid’s life is far more important than a paycheck and for that reason, I chose to stay home with them. Too many kids get sent to school sick because the parents need childcare

Anonymous

As an educator, I feel for the families who are continuing to struggle through virtual learning. This isn’t a perfect fit for all students and families, but it is what we have. Starting school virtually for 4-8 weeks makes sense while we work to reduce active cases of COVID.

Anonymous

The underlying message is that education is non-essential. As essential workers have dug in and continued to provide services, teachers and students have gone to grocery stores, attended social events, and gone to the beach. Time to get back to work.

Richard

I am one of those grandparents with underlying conditions that has a 12-year-old granddaughter that we love more than life. For that reason, we are not going to risk her losing us. If need be, we will home school her permanently. There are way too many reckless adults to risk this.

Anonymous

My son started school today, he was excited and so was I. I’m not worried about any of this. If teachers are not going to teach them, I need a school voucher to pay for the school my son is going to now. #SchoolChoice #GiveMeBackMyTaxes

Toni

Kids rely on their parents to protect them. Sending kids back to school is not a matter of if they will get COVID-19 it’s a matter of when. It’s playing with their lives. Later on, it will be a pointing game, because of this or that my child got COVID-19 and died .. School won’t matter then will it?

Anonymous

Parents, please think about sending children back. In Georgia they were first to open schools, kids already confirmed outbreak in schools. Why would you even think twice of reopening this is ahorrible thought that runs by my head. Definitely WILL NOT BE SENDING MY CHILD! HER safety comes first!

Anonymous

The general air seems to be these two arguments. One fear of the virus vs fear that kids won’t properly learn online. Both of these fears are valid. The question that must then be considered is which fear is more prominent. Currently, it is the virus, in the future that may change.

Matt

We plan to send our 3rd grader to school. She wants to go. Wife and I work at offices 7 am-4 pm, we have no choice but to send her in. The “Live” schedule is hindering us from working from home, while teaching. We feel we are in the minority with NISD decisions. Time for elementary half days, maybe?

Anonymous

TEA offices are closed until after the first of the year because it isn’t safe to return to the office. The people who are working safely from home are telling teachers they need to get back to the classroom and say it’s safe to do so. If it’s so safe, why aren’t the TEA employees back at work?

Anonymous

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

Most San Antonio-area school districts have already resumed the academic year online while some, like Boerne ISD returned for in-person learning. Several Bexar County school districts will be starting the school year online this week.

Officials with the Texas Education Agency say 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 to avoid losing state funding tied to student attendance.

One of the responses from the confessionals prompt called out the TEA for having closed offices while officials require teachers to work in classrooms but a Trust Index report from KSAT last month disproved the theory that TEA employees are working from home.

A spokesperson for TEA said at the time that officials “weren’t sure how that rumor got started.”

Several people were concerned about the issues regarding Georgia’s struggle to control the spread of the coronavirus after schools opened.

More than 250 employees in Georgia’s largest public school district tested positive for COVID-19at-risk or were possibly exposed to the virus, around one week before the school year began, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Another article noted that more than 1,150 students had been quarantined in Georgia due to possible exposure - making it a one-day increase of more than 300 students.

Spikes in positive COVID-19 cases like the ones in Georgia have some parents choosing to homeschool their children instead of sending them back to an in-classroom learning environment. The Texas Homeschool Coalition recently shared a list of commonly asked questions as a resource for parents who have chosen to homeschool their students in favor of sending them back to campuses.

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