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Columbia Public Schools parents differ on in-person teaching as COVID-19 pandemic continues

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Tuesday protest signs from 'Not until it's Safe' and "Rally for Choice Learning'


Whether to have students in classes starting later this month has split Columbia Public Schools parents and teachers.

CPS is considering a hybrid model of learning, with students going into a classroom for two days a week while learning online the other days.

During and since a rally on Tuesday outside of the CPS administration building, parents have been giving their thoughts on whether online learning or the hybrid model is better.

On the "Rally for Choice Learning" Facebook page, several parents and teachers commented on why only online schooling won't work for families and children.

"The roadblocks to virtual learning have still not been addressed and remain a critical issue in the success of any model which does not include five-day in-person classes," Tricia Carr, an advocate for parents to have choices in how their children learn, said in an interview with ABC 17 News.

Carr said the hybrid model might be a success for students and teachers if the issues with virtual learning are discussed.

"I think that the Minnesota model presented, which is able to change learning models based upon the status of the community, is appropriate as it is science-based," she said."

Parents and teachers who are part of the group "Not Until It's Safe" believe CPS should only offer in-person learning when community transmission of the novel coronavirus drops below 5 percent and no new cases of COVID-19 are reported for 14 consecutive days.

A CPS teacher and parent, Shawn Beatty, thinks the hybrid model is not a safe option for students.

"Hybrid I don't think it the right option because there will be cross group contamination," he said. "I would be the connecting piece between two groups of students so if I get sick that's both sides I have potentially infected."

Beatty said he is concerned there won't be enough resources for the hybrid model to keep students and teachers healthy.

"And testing, one of the biggest impediments is fast, reliable testing. I don't feel we have been given the resources we need," he said.

The two groups both want to see children back in the classroom, but CPS officials are figuring out how to do that safely while not harming students' education.

"We want to be back in the classroom, all of us do but we want to do it safely and be smart about it," Beatty said. "I'd rather we be too safe, have people complain that nothing happened, than rush into and have everything happen."

Right now, CPS is planning to return to school on Aug. 25. District leaders are discussing moving the start date back to after Labor Day because thousands of MU students are soon returning to campus.

The Columbia Board of Education is expected to consider and possibly vote on a reopening plan at its meeting Monday.

Check back here or watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6 for more on this developing story.

Boone / Columbia / Coronavirus / Education / News / Top Stories

Zola Crowder


1 Comment

  1. I’m siding with the people saying it’s too early. Is a short delay in your child’s school year not worth protecting their health and possibly their life? Be interesting to ask kids when they’re older what they felt like when they learned that their parents sent them to school when there was a deadly disease going around. To the people that say online schooling doesn’t work, how many college degrees can you get online now from any University throughout the world? A lot, so the argument for online learning not working is only because the parents don’t want to do it.

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