KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We’re hearing from a few local parents following the approval of Knox County Schools’ reopening plan for the fall, which parents say hasn’t totally eased their concerns.
Brian Ferrazzano was already leaning toward virtual learning for his 11-year-old daughter, Lucy, for the upcoming school year. He wanted to see Knox County Schools’ plan for reopening before officially enrolling her. Those plans, released and approved Wednesday, didn’t change those plans.
Ferrazzano, a single father, acknowledged this year would have been Lucy’s first year of middle school, and his fear the time away could have a lasting emotional or social impact. He feels the threat of the coronavirus is greater, so he officially enrolled his middle schooler.
“I do have some doubts about the virus. I don’t know if the numbers are skewed a little bit, a little inflated, I don’t know,” he said. “But, no matter what I think, my daughter is more important than the way I feel or think, and I’m just not willing to risk her.”
By enrolling, KCS plans say students will have to stick to that method for the remainder of the semester. Parents have until July 22 to choose the online learning option.
Though he said he liked the approved plan, he couldn’t be convinced enough of his daughter’s safety. “If there is a child out there or a parent that has covid, and they can’t find a babysitter, or can’t take off of work, it scares me that they’re going to drop their child off at school,” he said.
He’s able to choose the online option for a couple reasons. First, in his line of he work, he explained, his hours are often flexible. In addition, he’s coordinated an effort with a handful of other parents, concerned about sending their children to in-person class, to form a rotating schedule to host their schooling at their homes.
Laura Humphrey also holds fear for the health of her fourth and fifth grade sons, Evan and Eli.
While she would like to choose the online option, it isn’t an option for their family. She’s also a single parent, who is expected to return to work next month. Her primary concern is her boys getting sick, but she’s also worried if they bring it home, she could face complications with the virus, given previous lung issues.
She’s reviewed the district plan, though she noted it hasn’t calmed her fears. She said she would have liked to have read phrasing including “out of an abundance of caution,” or “to accommodate you,” or “as an extra precaution, we will…I didn’t see a lot of those words. It was kind of the bare minimum of what we’re doing with coronavirus right now. I think with our kids, the bare minimum is just not good enough.”
Because her boys are returning to class next month, she’s still choosing to see the positives in the situation.
“They want to see their teachers. They love their teachers. They do a good job…and I know, the teachers will go above and beyond in the school system to protect the kids,” she added.
The first day of classes for Knox County Schools is Monday, Aug. 17.