GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Brook Andrews says she’s spent the past semester watching her children become more and more frustrated with online learning.
“The longer this goes on, the less engaged they’re becoming,” she said.
Andrews’ kids are students in the Green Bay Area Public School District, a 10th grader at Southwest High School and an eighth-grader at Lombardi Middle School.
“They’re struggling with not having extracurricular activities, they’re struggling with connectivity and internet issues with gets frustrating on top of all the other frustrations that they have,” she explained.
In a virtual interview Friday, district Superintendent Stephen Murley acknowledged that the situation is not ideal.
“We know that the best teaching and learning takes place in the classroom with the student and the teachers,” he said.
He explained that going virtual was not expected to be a long-term solution.
“When we initially talked to the board about this in August, I don’t think any of us envisioned being online past the end of September,” Superintendent Murley said. “Right now we have a set of gating criteria that the board has adopted.”
That gating criteria is based on the burden level of the Coronavirus, or the number of new Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks.
Since the school year began, the burden level has continued to increase, preventing schools from opening.
Andrews says that families willing to risk sending their students to school despite coronavirus levels should be able to do so.
“If you want to stay virtual, stay virtual,” she said. “We are asking for the option for those of us that want to assume the risk of sending our kids back to school, that we are given that option.”
Andrews created a Facebook group online for like-minded parents in the district.
She says that group now stands at nearly 1,000 members.
Recently, she and nine other concerned parents met with district officials virtually to voice their opinions.
“We have got nothing back from the school district,” she said of the aftermath of that meeting.
Andrews added that she and other parents are considering protesting in front of the GBAPS district office.
“We want to be heard,” she said.
Superintendent Murley says that the issue will be taken up again at the scheduled December 14th School Board meeting.
He told Local 5 that the district could look at changing the criteria for bringing kids back into school, or bringing in small groups of students enrolled in programs that would benefit the most from meeting in person.