Parents Struggle as Schools Reopen 08/03 06:12
(AP) -- Shannon Dunn has to report in person to her job this week as a
cafeteria manager at at elementary school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but she
has no idea what she'll do when her daughter starts kindergarten with
As a new school year begins this week in some states, Dunn, like many
working parents, is struggling to balance her job with her child's school work
as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause upheaval in school districts
around the country.
Dunn's East Baton Rouge school district has asked school employees to begin
work this week, while students are set to begin virtual classes next week.
School officials have said they hope to begin in-person classes after Labor Day.
"My family works. I have no one I can take her to and say, okay, at 12
o'clock you are going to have to start working online with her for school,"
Parents in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee are among those who
will be the first to navigate the new academic year as schools open up in parts
of those states this week.
In Indiana, where schools reopened last week for the first time since a
pandemic-driven nationwide shutdown in March, a student at Greenfield-Central
Junior High School tested positive for the coronavirus on the first day back to
class. School Superintendent Harold Olin told The Associated Press that the
student was tested for the virus days earlier and attended school before
receiving the results. The student was isolated in the school clinic, while
school nurses worked to identify other students or staff who may have had close
contact with the student.
"This really does not change our plans," Olin said. "We knew that we would
have a positive case at some point in the fall. We simply did not think it
would happen on Day One."
Schools in Hawaii were supposed to reopen Tuesday, but the teachers union
led a move to delay that until Aug 17.
Most schools in the state are planning a hybrid approach, with students
alternating between attending in-person classes and online instruction. Some
schools will have full in-person instruction for younger grade levels, but only
a handful of schools will offer a full-time, in-person return.
Many school districts around the country had offered parents a choice of at
least some in-person classes or remote instruction. But an uptick in COVID-19
cases in many states has prompted school districts to scrap in-person classes
at least for the start of the school year, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia
Dunn said she hopes her daughter will be able to attend in-person classes at
her school after Labor Day. But even if she does, that will not ease her
mother's mind completely.
"I'm definitely going to worry," Dunn said.
"I will send her to in-person classes, but if I hear of the spread of COVID
at the school, then I'd have to rethink it all over again."