Parents, teachers express concerns as Pitt County students return to classes

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(WNCT photo)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Teachers, parents and community leaders agree: Kids learn best in the classroom. Students of Pitt County schools were back in session Wednesday after the holiday break.

“I think a lot of teachers right now are feeling like we’re not being heard,” said Douglas Hacker, a Pitt County teacher.

Some teachers and parents expressed worry the decision could have negative implications as COVID-19 spreads.

“If teachers are getting sick and aren’t able to come to school, they can’t teach, so in order for education to happen, we have to protect our teachers,” said Hacker.

Hacker and his colleagues were disappointed with the school board’s Tuesday decision to continue with in-person learning. He said he’s seen too many teachers out sick with COVID and the nightmare of shifting employees to cover classrooms.

“Learning isn’t really happening in a lot of these classes, it’s just somebody covering and not much learning is taking place,” said Hacker.

He also knows parents have differing opinions.

“I just wish there were members on the board that really understood how difficult it is for some parents to be able to have childcare at an instant,” said Diane Taylor, a Pitt County parent.

Taylor believes not enough thought was given to parents and teachers.

“To then pretend it’s not a crisis when you have those kind of [case] numbers is disheartening,” said Taylor.

Kylene Dibble with Parents for Public Schools in Pitt County sees more gray area.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and being happy with any decision is a really hard place to be because there are costs to each decision that’s made,” said Dibble.

Pitt County’s Health Director Dr. John Silvernail said there are risks either way.

“We have worked closely with the school district on sanitization issues, spacing issues, shielding issues, masking issues to try and protect everybody that is in school,” said Silvernail.

Some teachers are worried those precautions won’t be enough.

“The public education system is primarily to educate, and the best chance we have at educating is virtually,” said Hacker.

Hacker believes Pitt County could lose teachers over the situation.

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