CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — From coast to coast, millions of students are still missing from the classroom and required to learn online to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, some parents are protesting to get their children back in school.
“He can’t type or read and he’s supposed to be doing several hours of computer instruction which he also can’t do on his own. So as a working parent it’s extremely frustrating,” said North Carolina parent Devon Wadsworth.
“Kids don’t just want to be in school they need to be in school,” explained 5th grader Luke Schoon.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says returning students to the classroom in a safe way is a top priority. But he says he wants to review recent studies on coronavirus transmission in schools and make a decision based on the science.
In Missouri, some Springfield area students will be in the classroom four days a week starting Monday and have only one online day.
“There are many needs of our students: social, emotional needs and others, academic needs that make it really beneficial for us to return to in-person learning as quickly as we are able to do that and we are committed to doing that in a safe way,” said Chief Communications Officer Springfield Public Schools Stephen Hal.
Freshman Natalie Eastin is excited about the change.
“It will really help people, especially coming out of their shell,” said Eastin.
Her mom Ashley McGuire says this will reduce the stress level around the house.
“My husband and I tag-team a lot of this and so he’s online and I’m online, and we’re like did they do it? What’s being done? And we’re at work. We still have to have jobs. It’s difficult,” said Ashley McGuire.
What schools in the nation’s top 5 largest districts are doing:
1) New York City Public Schools
- Elementary schools have a hybrid plan.
- Middle schools and high schools are all online.
2) Los Angeles Unified School District
- All instruction is online only.
3) Chicago Public Schools
- All classes are currently online.
- Elementary students were scheduled to return on February 1, but the teachers’ union is pushing back; the return to in person learning for some Chicago Public Schools K-8 students is now set for no sooner than Thursday, Feb. 4.
4) Miami-Dade County Public Schools
- Families choose which type of learning they prefer, fully online or fully in-person.
5) Clark County School District in Nevada
- Expediting plan to bring students back for in-person learning after a rise in student suicides.
In Chicago, the teachers union and the mayor are going head to head.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot is requiring elementary teachers to go back to work immediately as children were initially scheduled to be back in class Tuesday.
But the Chicago Teachers Union is threatening to strike if additional health protocols are not put in place.
“I am incredibly frustrated, not just as a leader of this system. My child was ready to come to school tomorrow,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson.
Some Chicago parents say they need to be part of negotiations.
A recent study by the CDC says with mask requirements and proper precautions, the transmission risk of COVID-19 in schools appears to be low, suggesting schools might be able to open safely with appropriate mitigation efforts.