Columbia County parents seek full-time class option

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 11:19 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Columbia County schools are about to start their second nine-week period, and some parents are hoping the district will make changes.

Currently, there isn’t a five-day-a-week, in-person instruction option for middle and high schoolers. And one mom started a petition with the hope to get some students back in class full time.

“Once the material gets to the point where it gets so hard, that we’re both questioning it, like chemical and ionic bonding, he shuts down. I don’t know what to do. So, I had to hire a tutor for my son, and I am a tutor,” said Christy Holmes, a mother, a tutor and now a petitioner.

She and more than 800 others are asking Columbia County to reconsider their hybrid model.

“The hybrid instruction is not feasible going forward. They’re expected to learn 100 percent, with 50 percent instruction,” Holmes said.

She says the students she tutors, including her son, struggle to teach themselves material on learn from home days.

“So, what happens to these children that don’t have access to tutors? I don’t know, it makes me worry all the time. I don’t know what they do,” Holmes said.

And as a former teacher herself, she doubts it’s just the kids struggling.

“I can’t imagine being a teacher having to teach five-days a week, then having to do online for those students that were there yesterday five- days a week. That’s two jobs,” she said.

But Columbia County school officials say they’re trying to balance the interests of teachers, too, but in a different way.

“We would like to see the numbers reach a level that would make all of our family feel comfortable, and our teachers feel comfortable to have children back in school under these circumstances,” said Dr. Sandra Carraway, superintendent of Columbia County schools.

Though there is no agreement on when is the best time, there is a common goal of getting back to face-to-face in the end.

“Our goal would be to have our children back in school just as soon as possible,” Carraway said. “I think that we can make it happen. I hope we can make it happen.”

Holmes said she reached out to Columbia County suggesting they leave teaching new material for in-person days. She says her school principal seemed receptive at the time, but no changes have been made just yet.

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