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Columbia Public Schools

Parents and teachers have mixed emotions about Columbia Public Schools returning to virtual learning


Some parents say they are frustrated after the Columbia Board of Education voted to send elementary students back to virtual learning on Monday.

District elementary school students were allowed back into the classroom on Oct. 19. Since then, multiple schools have had to return to virtual learning and hundreds have had to quarantine.

The board said elementary students will return to the classroom on Jan. 11.

Scott Halterman has a child who goes to Mill Creek Elementary and said the board made a poor decision.

"This decision is affecting kids psychologically, and with winter coming around kids are going to be stuck in the house for who knows how long," Halterman said.

Another CPS parent, Mary Earnhart, said she has mixed emotions about the students going back to virtual learning.

"I want teachers and kids to stay healthy, but to me pulling them back out and messing with their schedules all over again is unhealthy," she said.

Ariel Schwarting, a third-grade teacher for CPS, said she completely respects the board's decision, however, she is sad to switch back to online learning. Schwarting said all teachers want to be in-seat.

"I was just hoping I would get to be with my kids at least through Thanksgiving in-person, so I was very, very saddened by the decision," she said.

Schwarting said she does understand that other teachers or students might not have had the same in-person learning experience and feel more comfortable moving online.

While elementary students are taking a hard hit to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Schwarting asked the community to also do their part to help the young learners in Columbia.

"I hope those age groups that are kind of our hot spot age groups are really paying attention to the impact they are having on our community," Schwarting said.

Columbia/Boone County health director Stephanie Browning said during a Monday morning community meeting that the county has seen COVID-19 case increases across all age groups.

High school and middle school students will continue learning online but plan to return to in-person learning on Jan. 19 for four days per week.

Columbia / Coronavirus / Education / News / Top Stories

Zola Crowder


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