NEW AUGUSTA, Miss. (WDAM) - A Perry County parent, who is also a substitute teacher, is voicing her concerns on students returning to school as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Mississippi.
The Perry County School District was prepared to start back on Aug. 6, but the Perry County School Board approved delaying the start of the school year until Aug. 17 on Thursday night.
The school district also announced a hybrid schedule where students would be split into two groups and alternate days attending classes in-person and virtual learning at home.
Bridget King said she believes the school district is not doing a good job of presenting how they will keep students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I really think the school district hasn’t really shown or demonstrated how they are going to properly sanitize and keep our facilities clean,” King said. “How they are going to actually put in social distancing and keep these kids with masks or not. they haven’t specified either way.”
As a substitute teacher in Perry County, King says she is unclear of the road ahead for substitutes in the county.
“They have not given us any guidelines or made any contact with our substitute teachers or anything like that,” King said. “So, we are just as clueless as everyone else is right now. I mean our biggest concern is, you know, being exposed to so many kids with teachers actually getting sick and coming down with, even if it’s not COVID, you know if it’s something else. We are going to be in a big crisis in needing substitute teachers.”
Her fear is that her children will become infected and spread it among the family.
“We are putting our kids at risk by exposing them to all of these other people, and we can’t guarantee where the other kids have been,” King said. “I’m a person with a compromised immune system. So, if my kids go to school and they bring it back, then that’s me having a better chance of getting COVID 19. Where my daughter also has asthma and she’s put at higher risk because she has asthma.”
“Being silent doesn’t get you anywhere and it doesn’t get the other voices heard,” King added. “So just stand up for how you feel. Let them know your concerns and hopefully, we can all come together and make better decisions for our kids.”
The school district says its A/B hybrid schedule will allow half of the students to do classwork online from home while the other half is at school, cutting down on school and bus traffic and allowing for more social distancing inside the classroom.
The Perry County School District plans on having clean and sanitized rooms and is encouraging social distancing and face coverings.