Edmond’s return to school plan causes concerns

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EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – As district leaders are finalizing a back to school plan in Edmond, some parents say they are concerned about those plans.

On Tuesday night, the Edmond Public School Board passed an A/B or “blended” learning plan that has kids in classrooms two days a week and virtual learning the other three days. 

However, the format is causing concern for parents, students and teachers.

“I think it’s a good idea but personally, I’m highly concerned,” said Jessica Tente.

Tente, a single working mother of two 6-year-old girls, is worried about the increased screen time for her twins and paying for childcare the days they are not in class.

“Daycare is costly. Single parents, some of us don’t have an extra partner to help out with that juggle,” said Tente.

If the current part-time in-person teaching plan doesn’t work, Tente says she is also concerned about daycare if classes go totally online.

“Daycare for parents, that’s what breaks my heart. We thought about that all along,” said Edmond Schools Superintendent Bret Towne.

Towne says they will reach out to daycare facilities and church partners to try to provide more childcare opportunities for parents.

He says providing in-person learning to children is important. According to their own survey, 85% of Edmond parents preferred a blended model over full virtual.

With the current plan, each child will only be in class two days a week, but teachers will have kids with them in their classroom four days a week. Officials say extra precautions will be taken for instructors.

“Mandatory masks, 1st thru 12 grades, we have social distancing guidelines. We are in the process of buying desk shields for teachers,” said Towne.

“There is not a solution that everyone is going to be behind,” said Angela Clark Little.

The mother of two high school boys is also a public education advocate. She say it’s important to factor in teachers.

“We also need to make sure they know that their well-being is being taken into consideration. I feel like we don’t always do that with teachers,” said Clark Little.

Officials stress kids from the same families will be kept on the same schedule within the A/B group blended plan.

As for extra-curricular activities and athletics, district officials say they are planning on having them, but what exactly that will look like is still to be determined.

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