Scottsdale Schools Parent Advocates For Classroom Return

Ahead of the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board’s next meeting, a parent details her stance on sending students back to school for in-person learning. Conflict has been brewing since the district surveyed parents during the summer and requested they decide the best learning model for their children in the wake of the COVID-19. Meanwhile, the district’s efforts on enacting steps to implore its Return to Learn Plan definitively included starting online classes for those interested on Aug.

Initially presented with three options including in-person learning, distance/online learning and a hybrid model that combined the two, parents elected the best case for their child. Although the hybrid model was eventually removed from the options because of a lack of interest from stakeholders and presenting too many complications to proceed, district leaders expressed at the last board meeting to possibly re-examine the hybrid model to help phase in on-campus learning.

10 ahead of the governor’s executive order suggesting that in-person learning resume in schools on Aug. 17 statewide. Tammy Rohde, a parent of a high school senior, answers why she is adamant about sending her child to school: Why is it so important for your child to return to in-classroom schooling? I want my daughter to learn in-person because it is a better learning environment for her and also fosters important mental and social interaction and growth. We have wonderful, supportive, encouraging, enthusiastic teachers in all SUSD schools and grade levels.

I want my daughter back in the classroom with these teachers, as well as their fellow student peers. By keeping the schools closed, our kids are missing out on teamwork to solve problems, labs, public speaking, social interaction, communication, physical activity, arts, music….this list goes on and on. Keeping our children locked out of their schools is hurting them not only educationally, but emotionally and physically.

Did you base any plans on your child returning to school on campus and if so what might they have entailed? No. We are living our lives completely normally work, social activities, athletic activities, travel. We have been anticipating and prepared for in-person back to school this entire time, and I am actually shocked that we are having to battle SUSD to get our schools opened. Do you feel pressured to comply with not sending your child(ren) to school and instead doing online learning?

Yes, I do feel that they are pressuring us to accept that online learning is the only safe way to educate our children right now. I realize some parents feel that online is the best option for them, and I respect their choice. They are being listened to and accommodated by SUSD. Alternatively, we had the opportunity to choose in-person learning. We are the clear majority and are not being listened to or accommodated by SUSD.

It’s actually a very simple solution – those that chose in-person should be back in the classroom – those that chose online learning can continue with it. Since the district is leaning toward a hybrid model learning, do you think that parents and teachers who were against it should give it a try anyway? No, I believe they need to open our schools to the 75% of families who chose that option. If a family feels more comfortable staying with the online model, they should be allowed to do that.

SUSD proposed a similarly complicated hybrid model in June and they voted against it because it would be too chaotic for the students and teachers and too difficult to implement successfully. I’m not sure why they are bringing back this failed hydrid attempt now. They need to stop overthinking this, think about the kids, listen to the parents and open the schools.

What happens if your child contracts the virus, will you hold the school district responsible? I have not one ounce of fear about this virus. If my child contracted this virus, I would not be concerned about her recovery, nor would I hold the school district responsible in any way. Kids build a healthy immune system by being exposed to viruses and being around others. This is basic science. Most of them have already had other corona cold viruses and have immunity to them. They are at little to no risk and deserve to be back in school, athletics, clubs and to live their lives.

How is your child or children adjusting to the new learning environment of homeschooling? My daughter is just going through the motions with online school, probably like most teenagers are rolling out of bed and doing class unengaged. It’s depressing and sad to see. Sorry, but staring at a screen all day offers little educational engagement, instructional value or communication opportunities. It’s an inferior approach to educating our children, and I would never choose it for my children.

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