Parents agree on in-person classes; internet access a priority

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 10:01 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Most parents in a small, rural school district overwhelmingly support sending their kids back to school this fall for face to face learning.

The district is also beefing up its virtual learning capabilities.

In a new survey of 240 Richards R-5 parents - 92 percent say they will send their child to school if health guidelines say its safe to do so.

The remaining 8 percent said they prefer online work, homework packets or home schooling altogether.

“I feel and believe deeply that the best environment for that child is in the public schools, so that they can be around their peers, socialization, and I think they’re going to learn more if the teacher is talking directly to them rather than through a computer,” Superintendent Dr. Melonie Bunn told KY3.

Zach Cox, the district's Technology Coordinator, says going virtual last semester offered challenges.

“Being in a rural area, not everyone has internet. Now whether that is because they can’t afford it or whether they can’t get it because of where they live,” Cox added.

Students will also be able to connect to the internet from the parking lot. The district says it will install hot spots on the school.

“Worst case scenario, they could come in to school and they can download their work, take it home and bring it back and never come in to the school. You’d be in the parking lot,” Cox explained.

All 400 students will have assigned laptops and learning will be interactive.

“The teacher could be sitting here at the school and communicating with the student, editing assignments, grading them however, keeping them on a schedule and keep them involved in the classes,” Cox noted.

Cox says one step will be very important.

"Very important when we get back to school, those first few weeks, to make sure there's protocols in place and all these students know how to log in, even down to kindergarten...which can be done."

Superintendent Dr. Bunn knows no challenge is too big or too small.

“It was probably about two weeks ago that it hit me, that we can do this,” Dr. Bunn exclaimed.

School starts on August 24th.

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