Parents wait for school opening info, have ‘mixed feelings’

Parents wait for school opening info, have ‘mixed feelings’

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - With north country schools due to open a little more than a month from now, parents are still waiting to find out where - and how - their children will be learning.

And some parents have distinctly mixed feelings about sending their children to school.

On the 7 News Facebook page, we asked parents what they thought schools should do. We got more than 500 comments.

A lot of parents said, more or less, what Laurie Bowden from the Town of Champion told us.

“I honestly believe that it should be the parents choice if they want the kids to go to school or do remote learning,” she wrote.

Jessica Hastwell of Port Leyden is both a parent and a school counselor.

“We all want our kids back in school, but we want to make sure it’s done as safely as possible,” she said.

“We want to make sure that our teachers are given the protection and the students are given the protection to keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible.”

Many parents are conflicted.

“I don’t want her to have to wear a shield and I don’t want her to have to wear a mask and I don’t want her to feel alienated from her friends,” Angela Dunsin of Potsdam told 7 News.

“But I just don’t agree that children should go to school right now.”

The Watertown city school district sent out a survey to parents asking them how they felt - school officials said 42 percent said they do not feel comfortable sending their children back to school.

School districts across the north country have yet to announce their plans for the fall, though they’re expected to include a mix of in-person instruction and distance learning, with younger children spending more time in class, and older students spending more time online.

Hastwell, the school counselor, says school officials are doing their best with what they know.

“So I really just think to encourage people to have patience and to have some understanding that everybody is trying to do what they can that’s going to be best and keep everybody safe,” she said.

Plans to reopen schools are due on July 31.

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