Collierville parents concerned about back-to-school plans

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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Back-to-school plans already have some parents worried in the face of the coronavirus, particularly in Collierville.

Some parents there say they are being forced to choose between academics and health. 

One concerned parent who contacted WREG didn’t want to be identified, but says he has problems with only requiring students to wear masks if they can’t be six feet apart.

“Inside a building with that many kids from that many households, that’s just not enough,” the parent said. “It needs to be masks on all the time or else they’re going to have an outbreak.”

Collierville Schools Superintendent Gary Lilly said they made the mask decision based on health department guidelines, including not requiring masks for students below the third grade.

“For some of the smaller children, it can be very difficult to keep a mask on, and in some cases it’s not even a good idea,” Lilly said.

Collierville is offering traditional in person learning or virtual learning, but the online learning requires students have a “learning coach” present for four to six hours a day for grades K-8.

Judy McCommon taught school for 20 years and said students need someone watching over their shoulders.

“If you just put kids in front of a TV and say, ‘Watch second grade math,’ it’s not going to work,” she said. “Kids need one-on-one with the teacher to explain things.

But as for parents having to be there? Some think it’s necessary.

“They are not going to choose to do the school work unless mom is there making sure it’s done,” said Nancy Kinnear of Collierville. “But a lot of moms have to work.”

Lilly says there is some leeway.

“We have called it a learning coach but in reality, we anticipate it might be a parent, grandparent, could be an older sibling or friend of the family,” he said.
  
Another concern for parents is students who decide to go virtual not being allowed on campus.

“If your kid’s involved in any kind of extracurricular activity like sports or band or anything like that, then essentially they no longer are going to be a part of that and that’s obviously not good for your kids mental wellbeing,” a concerned parent said.

But the superintendent says students will be able to participate in their extracurricular activities if parents are ok with it. He said the school system is weighing all options in this unprecedented time

“It’s a difficult situation and unfortunately there are no perfect options out there,” Lilly said.

Collierville parents have until July 29 to choose an in-school or on-line option. Collierville Schools will hold orientation and registration August 11.

Related: Back To School 2020

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