Support and concerns about students returning to in-person learning

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IRVINE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Some students went back to school Monday, in-person, that includes children in Estill County schools but not all students were there.

The district broke it down into a hybrid schedule, group A students will learn in-person Monday and Tuesday, group B on Thursday and Friday.

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Wednesday is designated as a day to work with virtual only students and students with specific needs.

Estill County superintendent Jeff Saylor says a little over 620 students showed up on their first day back in-person.

“Our employees are excited about seeing their kids, now to also say that yes, there’s some concerns. We have some concerns. We know COVID is real.”

The state wanted schools to consider reopening dates no earlier than January 11th.

Saylor says parents, students and staff all worked together to make the decision to return now rather than later but there are still some people with concerns.

“We can continue to find a reason not to go back to in-person classes. The big thing that we have to do is we have to understand here, at least that I believe that we have to understand is that we have a lot of kids that are struggling. They’re struggling with remote learning. Parents and Grandparents are struggling with remote learning.”

Jessica Cain’s son is a senior at Estill County High School.

She says, “I do not feel comfortable with my child returning on Thursday. We cant {SIC} even go into the water officer to pay our bill in person due to COVID, so why expose our children? Estills {SIC} numbers are still up and in red and I do not support it.”

She says her son will not be returning to in-person classes.

As for Lynnapril Testa-Sylvia, who has a granddaughter in elementary school, she supports this next step.

She says, “I am fully confident that they have taken every step to protect our children. My opinion…my granddaughter needs to be back in school, the interaction between her, her teacher and her classmates are vital. I can not teach her the things that she needs to learn from home. Even if it’s only 2 days a week.”

She says her granddaughter is in group B and will be back in school Thursday.

The board says if there are more than 50 cases per every 100-thousand people in the county, the district will return to remote learning.

In Fayette County, virtual learning starts up again Thursday.

The board is scheduled to talk about returning to class in-person Tuesday, January 5th.