Citing safety as its top priority, Loudoun County Public Schools offered families with children in the school system the following options for the upcoming school year: A hybrid in-person and distance-learning option — in which the student would be physically in a classroom two days each week — or distance learning for the full school week.
And although it’s not an option, some parents wish they could choose in-person instruction five days per week.
“We feel the distance learning model is failing most children, especially the younger years … They need to be in school five days a week with increased cleaning, with increased health awareness,” said Paula Goodege-Kunwar, a parent to a kindergartner and a rising second-grader at Buffalo Trails Elementary School.
While many teachers have expressed concerns about health and safety inside classrooms during the pandemic, Goodege-Kunwar, a nurse by training, and her husband, a physician, believe children’s health would be better safeguarded if they attended school five days a week instead of taking part in the hybrid plan.
“We feel that it’s the safer option than the hybrid option. It kind of keeps those children in a bubble. And we think that putting them in five days lessens the chance of mixing with multiple children, going to multiple day cares, going to multiple schools,” Goodege-Kunwar said.
The Goodege-Kunwar family has chosen the first option — the hybrid plan, which would put their children physically in classrooms two days a week — but they’re skeptical about the program, especially for their youngest child, who is a special education student.
“We don’t know what the hybrid plan is going to look like, and that is the question from all of the special education community,” Goodege-Kunwar said.
The county said its preference would be for 100% in-person learning, if it could be done safely under public health requirements.
The choice parents make will be binding through Jan. 15. Those who don’t select an option will have their student enrolled in the hybrid option. Parents had until 8 a.m. Wednesday to choose.
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