Laurel County students return to class, parents disagree on if it’s safe
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – There is still about a month to go before students in Kentucky can safely return to class in-person, per Governor Andy Beshear’s recommendation.
However, several districts are choosing to ignore this recommendation, including Laurel County Schools.
It re-opened to in-person classes Thursday and offered parents a choice to let their children learn online, or send them to school. This decision led to some mixed reviews.
Kella Collins is a parent of two young children – one in first grade and the other in third.
“Sending them to school this morning, I actually got to breathe a little bit,” says Collins.
After coming home from nursing school four days a week, Collins says it was hard helping them with their homework, especially because she had some of her own.
“I am basically the primary care holder, 24/7. I do everything.”
Collins pushed for Laurel County schools to hold in-person classes. She says so far, so good.
“Drop off went really well,” says Collins. “They were doing temps before the kids even got out of the vehicle.”
Her daughter, Kayleigh Lunsford, says safety measures such as social distancing and masks, continued throughout the day, even though it didn’t always make her happy.
“It was good except we didn’t really get to have recess,” Lunsford says.
She says she was only allowed to interact with her classmates, which is about 11 students. She says she felt safe.
But the president of the Laurel County Education Association, Pam Elkins, also a teacher at South Laurel Middle School, says she doesn’t share the feeling.
“Why are we going against what the governor recommended,” Elkins asks.
Beshear suggested all schools hold off on in-person classes until September 28, which Laurel County originally agreed to, calling off its original plan to start in August.
“We’ve been working so hard to get everything ready and for all of a sudden to say ‘oh it’s not working’ – it was a shock,” says Elkins.
Parents can choose to keep their child home, or send them to class every day. Elkins says that doesn’t give her an option because she has a 10-year-old asthmatic son who can’t stay home while she’s at school.
“I love my students, and I want nothing more than for everything to go back to normal, but I just don’t think we should try to push things ahead because we want to,” says Elkins.
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