Knox County parents share concerns ahead of first day back to school

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Schools are set to start back Monday. While parents are eager to get their kids back into the swing of things, there are still some concerns from parents who have chosen in-person and virtual learning.

The district has spent the summer putting a detailed plan in place for the safe return of students. They even delayed the start of school by one week to give teachers and staff more time to prepare and make changes — a move that has boosted the confidence of KCS parent Nira Seiber, who has chosen in person learning for her three children.

“They’ve had an additional week to even do more. And I’ve had to go down to the school to get things for my kindergartner, my second grader as well as my highschooler and I saw the things being put in place, the safety measures being put in place and I’m confident that that’s gonna help.” Seiber said.

Parents who chose the virtual learning option have concerns outside of coronavirus. Gretchen Ely’s kids are new to the district this year. She worries how they’ll make friends and get to know their teachers while learning virtually.

“We ended up just going with virtual even though it was a really painful decision especially with the lack of socialization they’re going to get, especially being new to the district. We’re feeling overwhelmed in terms of how are we gonna log in, when are we supposed to be there, is everything working? We keep having trouble getting the chrome book they gave us to connect to the internet.” Ely said.

Ely says she’s dounf comfort in Facebook groups. There, she’s been able to find other parents who have the same questions and concerns as her.

“I’ve been on Facebook trying to figure out if there are other parents with these concerns, can we do some socializing or kind of  co-op sort of homeschooling socializing kind of thing because we just don’t know how else they’re going to connect with each other.” Ely said.

Even the parents who are optimistic about this school year still feel some uncertainty about the unknown.

“I have that mom guilt. Am I doing the right thing, am I being too confident in the school system, are my kids going to be okay? But I have that mom guilt no matter what I do. So I just have to be confident in knowing that I trust these teachers, I know they’re doing as much as they can do and I’m just putting my faith in the school system this year.” Nira Seiber said.

In person learning starts Monday, August 24. There are more than 18,000 students enrolled in virtual learning for the fall 2020 semester.

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