But even with the extensive planning to keep students, teachers, and staff "Safe at School" for the increased in-person classes, Motber Nature has her own ideas and impacted schedules for some school districts.
Plans for this week’s in-person return to Warren County schools have been curtailed due to recent flooding. Professional development sessions were already scheduled for later this week.
As school districts bring students back into the buildings, families continue to wrestle with concerns about COVID-19, as well as their children’s academic progress and social connections.
Sonja Byrd said she’s comfortable with her children returning to in-person classes at Warren County Public Schools. She has a 14-year-old daughter in 8th grade at Drakes Creek Middle School, and a 17-year-old son at Greenwood High School. “My kids don’t have any health concerns. We’ve watched, and it seems like a lot of teachers are getting vaccinated, and we’re really happy they were part of that first wave," said Byrd. "We’ve got our masks, they’re used to that now. The numbers are going the right way, so I feel good, I feel secure.” Her family bought a laptop and a desk so everyone could be online for classes during virtual learning and for Byrd to keep working remotely for her job at Arts for All Kentucky. Byrd said learning algebra remotely was challenging for her daughter, but she kept up with the class by getting help from her brother. Byrd also has a 19-year-old daughter who is a student at a Western Kentucky University.
The comfort level of sending children back to school is not a result of the family being sheltered from COVID-19. They’ve experienced the burden of the virus first-hand.
“My husband is in health care. He works at the hospital. My son is an essential worker. He works at a grocery story," said Byrd. "You kind of have to balance the fear with the reality, you know. Just do the best that we can.”
Byrd says her husband contracted COVID-19 and is OK, but his father died from the disease in May.
She says her 74-year-old mother-in-law lives with the family and is scheduled to get the COVID vaccination.