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Parents call for virtual learning, ask legislature to put themselves in parents shoes

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 4:28 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In Tennessee school districts, by state law, are required to do in-person learning this school year.

Shelby County Schools say they must comply with the law as they continue to push legislators to allow local control.

“It’s really unfortunate that there is a law requiring in-person learning because a lot of parents and teachers are super frustrated. The delta variant is out there, it’s not something that was contemplated when this law was put in place,” State Senator Raumesh Abkari said.

Deedsha Dixion is one of those frustrated parents.

“We are left with no options, if there were any options why didn’t you give them to us,” Dixion said.

Her son, Aryjion, is a third grader in the Shelby County school district, he has reactive airway disease which makes him high risk.

The district offers Memphis Virtual School, but only students in grades 4-12 are eligible for it.

Dr. Piercey says that there have been 14,000 pediatric COVID-19 cases in the last seven days and that 36% of COVID-19 cases in the state are among children, the biggest increase in those ages five to 13.

Piercey says the best tool we have is masking up kids in school.

Dixion says she’s reached out to her son’s school and the district to see if there are other options, but has not heard back.

SCS told Action New 5, “Under certain circumstances, the District will support students with assignments on TEAMS and asynchronous study if they need to be absent. However, the Governor is clear districts cannot offer another virtual option.

The district also stated they are currently exploring ways to petition the TDOE and state legislators to allow the Continuous Learning Plan implementation.

Dixion’s message to the district and Governor Bill Lee, who pushed for in-person learning, is to put themselves in her shoes.

“What if you had a high risk child with a health condition that can’t be vaccinated, is sent into a classroom with 20 plus kids, there’s no room for social distance. How would you feel if that was your child’s life on the line, and you don’t have an option?” Dixion said.

Senator Akbari says getting virtual learning as an option will be an uphill battle. She says the majority party will have to make the decision and it will have to be lead by the governor.

Regardless, Akbari says they will push for it and says they’ve already gotten the ball rolling.

“Our caucus has already drafted communication that we’ll be sending out to the governors office today. Just really requesting that he allow our local districts the discretion they need to keep their students safe,” Akbari said.

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