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‘This is a picture of every parent’s worst nightmare’; Some CMS parents say virtual learning is taking emotional toll on kids

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:33 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students and teachers will spend at least another month in remote learning. That’s after the CMS Board of Education called an emergency meeting to change the plan after a recommendation from Mecklenburg County Public Health.

MORE: CMS board votes to remain in virtual learning until Feb. 12

It’s a mixed bag of reactions. Some parents and teachers are happy. Others aren’t. And each families’ struggles are different.

But for Whitney Morrow, a newly-single mom, she’s struggling to help her children learn while keeping her job.

But she says still, it’s not even her who she’s worried about. She’s worried about the mental health of her kids, who she says wake up anxious and stressed about school.

“I was sitting here with my kindergartener who has dreamed of going to school for years with his brother and sister and that dream, it just wilted away,” she said.

Whitney posted a photo of her 5-year-old on Facebook showing Connor fighting back tears staring at his tablet while at school. Attached was a letter that she also sent to the CMS Board of Education in December.

“To watch him struggle and to not love school was probably the hardest thing to watch,” she said.

She understands the CMS board of education had a difficult task but she says they’re not understanding the full weight of their decisions. She’s also perplexed why sports are continuing, things remain open across the county and why her kids are the ones being impacted.

“To make this blanket where every student has to learn in this environment instead of giving that choice is completely unfair to all students,” she said.

She’s asking for an option for her kids to thrive in school this year. Although she’s frustrated, she says her kids teachers and school staff have been amazing. She believes there’s a way to let students go back to school while giving the option of virtual school to the other families.

On top of this, Whitney is a newly single mom. But when looking for jobs, she could only find a part time job as a social worker that allowed her to work from home and help her kids with school.

“I really need to be working full time but I cannot because they require so much attention and nurturing right now.”

She says she’s not sure how the other parents out there who can’t work from home and also don’t have the money for a private tutor are handling it.

“They’ve lost sleep over this. They’ve woken up stressed about all the tasks they have to complete” she says.

Her kids are now in counseling to help with their newfound anxiety. She feels it would go away if her students could go back to school.

“I asked them the other day what will you remember about 2020 and he said ‘that remote learning is terrible,’” she said. “I said you’re right. I think that’s what we’ll all probably remember. I think these kids need to be back in school with their peers.”

Whitney says she understands COVID-19 is serious and that the decision the board was tasked with was a tough one. She wants the board and other parents to know children are being affected.

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