Springfield parents react to district’s move to distance learning for all

“We are continuing to support our students the best we can. We have amazing specialists across our systems that are finding creative ways to support our kiddos in class.”

Posted: Sep 29, 2020 5:56 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2020 10:49 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Parents are sharing their thoughts about a recent announcement from Springfield Public Schools saying every student will be learning online starting Thursday.

RELATED: SPRINGFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS MOVE ALL CLASSES ONLINE

The announcement comes after an exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in the past week, as well as original guidance from health officials. The decision includes kindergarten and first grade students, who began in-person instruction last week.

The district cited OHA's data, which shows for the second week in a row Lane County has seen more than 30 cases per 100,000, as the reason behind their decision.

KEZI 9 News talked to Elizabeth Lohrke, a mother of a student in the district.

“It’s an interesting process,” Lohrke said. “I think the schools are doing the best they can in light of everything going on. I know it’s not easy for teachers either. We sometimes get emails from teachers at seven in the morning or eight at night. So, I know they are working a range of hours too. It’s got to be challenging for them as well.”

Lohrke said she does look forward to when students can safely return to the classroom and understands how much pressure can be placed on families who don't have flexibility right now.

“I feel fortunate I only have one child whose work I’m trying to track as a full-time working parent as well,” Lohrke said. “If I had more than one I dont think that would be feasible especially if I had constrains on my hours, flexibility and things like that.”

Laura Quist also has a student in the district.

Navigating so many different schedules from school to work has been far from easy. So, she said the move to distance learning for her second-grader is going to be extremely overwhelming.

“The hope moving forward for my child would be to have the in-person setting that he was used to previously to help him with his social and emotional development, which is really important for my child at this age in his life,” Quist said.

KEZI also talked to district spokeswoman Jenna McCulley.

“What we are taking away from our time with students the last week and a half is that all of our hard work and our protocols we’ve put into place in preparing for safe in-person instruction seems to be working,” McCulley said. “We have prepared a staggered start for kindergarten through third grade, and that is something that worked out exceptionally well. We were able to rehearse and move though those protocols, different check ins, different dismissals, different recesses and those types of things with smaller groups of students and we are able to safely do that.”

The district said that case counts must return to safe levels.

“We are continuing to support our students the best we can,” McCulley said. “We have amazing specialists across our systems that are finding creative ways to support our kiddos in class.”

Other parents shared their concerns for finding childcare, balancing their own work schedules and keeping their students on track -- especially for children who have an Individualized Education Program or other disabilities.

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