Parents and educators react to ASD’s plan to resume in-person instruction

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 6:26 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District rolled out its plans for a return to in-person learning on Wednesday. The plan states elementary students will start on Oct. 19.

“Time will tell, this virus will tell,” ASD Superintendent Deena Bishop said. “Again, if cases in our community spike and in Alaska spike tremendously, this might not be an opportunity in October.”

The district felt confident enough to go forward with plans to start the return process.

″We’re excited to get back at it because that’s our business but we’re going to do it smart," ASD Chief Operating Officer Tom Roth said. “We’re not going to be irresponsible, but we’re going to be prepared because that’s what we do.”

Despite the school district’s confidence, some parents and educators aren’t too sure. Michelle Nelson is a teacher at Gladys Wood Elementary. She has been teaching from home while also helping her two children with online learning.

“I know they say they are going to try to keep classrooms small,” Nelson said. “But I know a class where a teacher has 30 kids on his Zoom session. You can’t keep that small.”

Nelson says she likes some of the ideas ASD has in place like smaller classes and less moving around. She also is aware of the in-person instruction given in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.

“We watch Palmer and kind of see how Palmer and the Mat-Su is laying out,” Nelson said.

Jen Motyka has decided to keep her kids at home for the remainder of the semester.

“For me, it’s more so the consistency of the in and out what is the plan for that and I would love to send my kids back where they don’t need masks anymore,” Motyka said. “So I think we’ll wait and see what the new year brings.”

Motyka says she knows there is a lot of relief from parents who need ASD and to have their kids back in school, not only to learn but also to serve as the family babysitter.

“I am excited to see forward progress,” Motyka said. “I’m very excited for my friends who are ready to send their kids back.”

The school district says it will use the rest of the month to reach out to families and teachers in order to try to gauge what their schools and class sizes will look like.

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