Limestone County Schools parents who decided to have their kids attend school virtually are now upset and confused by an updated virtual plan. But the superintendent says it's just a misunderstanding.
“There wasn’t enough time to make any practical decisions. Everyone was rushed and now everyone is upset,” Ashleigh Moore, a district parent explained.
Moore is among the many parents who have struggled with what to do since the county released a new schedule for elementary school students learning online.
Many parents say the original plan seemed to recommend just a few hours of work for younger children, but the new one appears to require a full day online, with more assignments and instruction.
“That changed a lot for me,” Amanda McGrew, another Limestone County Schools mother, said. “It’s really going to make it difficult for us.”
This plan requires more supervision, something Moore’s family can’t provide. Now, her son will attend school traditionally, despite the fact that she has a high-risk mother at home.
“It kind of made the schedule a little impossible for our home life unless that is the only thing you are there to do is make sure that children stays on that very strict schedule,” she explained.
McGrew was satisfied with the way things worked in the spring and couldn’t understand why the district would abandon what she deemed to be a success.
“Why did we have to reinvent the wheel?”
The newer schedule was released last week when Limestone County Schools reopened enrollment for the district's virtual learning option.
Superintendent Randy Shearouse said that students will not spend the entire day online like the sample schedule might imply.
“There might be a math lesson where the kid, for example, is online ten minutes and then they have some work to do themselves. So, you know, they’re not logged on for seven hours straight,” he explained.
The "tentative" schedule was released so that parents could see what a typical day could look like, according to Shearouse.
Each schedule will have some flexibility based on the planning of each student’s teacher.
In some cases, lessons will be taped so that students who are unable to watch them at the time can circle back to them.
Still, Shearouse said none of the schedules reflect exactly what a day will look like since they are all “tentative.”
Even though the new plan may not be as significant a change as some parents expected, many had questions.
In a Facebook comment, the district made it clear that this virtual plan will still require a significant amount of hands-on attention from parents and guardians.
“Elementary students have a strict schedule that they have to adhere to. If you are working full-time, virtual may not be the best option for you unless you have another adult that will dedicate their time to assist your student,” the post read.
Limestone County Schools are set to begin traditional classes on Friday, with virtual learning starting on August 12.
Shearouse says nearly 70% percent of Limestone County students are currently signed up for traditional learning.