Parents petition for full time, face to face learning in Columbia County schools

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COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – More than 1,000 people signed a Change.org petition pressing Columbia County Schools to offer in person learning full time with the option to learn from home.

Middle and high school parents in Columbia County stated they want to get rid of the hybrid model that’s been in place since early August in the district. Many expressed it’s just not working.

Christy Holmes, a Columbia County School District parent and the author of the Change.org petition, spoke with NewsChannel 6. She said, “We see an A/B schedule that goes until December. What we need is a plan to get these children back in school.”

Holmes launched the petition just a few days ago and now, she has nearly reached her goal of 1500 at the time of this report.

She said families are not being provided adequate options for education right now, so they are calling for full time in person school with the option for full time learn from home.

“I do tutor several children who are learn from home because their parents work and the biggest issue I’m finding is that these students do not have access to the materials that they need on a given day. There is no virtual instruction. It’s mostly worksheets and textbooks and answering questions,” she said adding that parents also work full time and cannot assist their children. She also said the district has done a very good job keeping COVID-19 numbers down, so the option to learn the way that they are is not needed.

A third of the needed signatures came in within just 24 hours. And dozens of parents made comments in support.

Olivia Sloan is one of those parents with three children. She said two are in middle school, in 6th and 8th grade, and one is a sophomore in high school.

“My son is having a hard time on tests because he’s a very audio learner. So, when he’s in class and he listens to his teacher talk, he does really well on tests. The problem is, they only teach half of it in class and the other half they have to do at home,” she said.

Another parent, Christina Wilhelm, posted her daughter with an IEP is floundering.

“I’m a stay at home mom with a degree in business. So, when it comes to teaching, I can’t do that,” Wilhelm said.

She told us the hybrid model is hard. Her child was adopted and has cognitive issues that stem from fetal alcohol effects.

“I don’t feel like this is fair, especially for the kids with learning disabilities,” she explained.

Superintendent Sandra Carroway said the goal is to get students back in class full time.

“Currently, we are watching cases of COVID-19 in Columbia County and, because they are currently on the decline, we are considering how we might be able to bring our students safely back to full-time traditional learning. If things continue as they are, we should be back in school sooner rather than later.”

Dr. Sandra Carraway, Superintendent, Columbia County Schools

Carraway added that the matter will be addressed at the next school board meeting scheduled for October 13.

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