Group of Union County elementary parents ask for ‘middle ground’ option for returning to school

As of now, families with kids K-5 had to choose Plan A, which returns kids back to school at the end of October, or Plan D, which would have students virtual through the end of the school year.

Parents push for another back to school option

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As debates rage on whether school boards will send kids back into classrooms, hundreds of thousands of families across the state are dealing with the daily struggle of teaching young children through virtual school.

A small group of Union County parents are raising some new concerns about the county’s plan to return to the classroom for elementary students. They’re asking for some middle ground for the options.

On Oct. 26, Union County Public Schools will send elementary students, kindergarten through 5th grade, back to school four days a week under Plan A. Families still have the option to choose the all virtual option, or Plan D.

But this time they’re not just choosing it for the semester, it’s now until the end of the year. Parents want the board to reconsider and add a third option.

Parents had to make the decision by Oct. 4 to go back to the classroom or stay home. But many of these parents said they wish they could have a Plan B option, where they could keep their kids home for a little while longer until the positive percent rate dropped lower.

This group signed a petition, which was presented to the Board of Education tonight, to ask them to reconsider.

“Being boxed into a choice for a full year, seems unreasonable.”

“You can send them back or you have to keep them at home the remainder of the year. I just don’t think that’s fair.”

These two parents asked us not to use their names out of fear there might be consequences. But they’re not afraid to share their message: They want more flexibility as kids go back to school.

“They want parents to commit to a full year, when we haven’t seen any data yet from kids being back in public," said one mom. "It feels like a really large commitment on our end.”

Union County says a decision has to be made to maintain teacher assignments and scheduling.

But these parents say it’s a tough choice to make, especially if things rapidly improve.

The petition says there are many reasons why families want the opportunity to choose in-person learning for the second semester like “waiting for the virus level to stabilize further” or that “some may have to return to work in January and won’t be able to supervise remote learning anymore.”

“There needs to be some middle ground, not you need to send them back now and that’s it,” a parent said.

As of now, there’s no formal discussion scheduled for the board to consider this request.

It was brought up in the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night as part of a public comment but that’s for board members to listen and take notes and not comment on the issues.

Parents say they plan to continue to collect signatures in hopes they can change the boards' mind.

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