Parents apprehensive as students head back to classroom

COVID and the Classroom

ST. LOUIS – Parents across the region are preparing to send their children back to school for the first day of classes. Many of them are apprehensive with delta variant cases rising among younger people.

The St. Louis Public School District has been preparing to welcome students back to the classroom.

George Sells, SLPS director of communications, says students, staff, and teachers will be required to wear masks and social distance in all school buildings following guidelines put in place by the city department of public health and CDC.

“We feel really good about the number of teachers and staff being vaccinated and we’re looking forward to it,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a great first day of school. Two years since these kids have had a normal first day of school.”

While many are excited to send their kids back to school, some parents are feeling apprehensive. Tishon Fitzpatrick has four children going back to SLPS classrooms this fall, ages 16, 12, 11, and 8. She’s still uncomfortable with the idea.

“Definitely not. If they could stay home it would be good because you don’t really know if they’re going to be safer in school,” she said.

We’ve seen backlash from parents who feel their children shouldn’t be forced to wear masks at school. Some districts threatening detention and suspension if the rule is not followed. Fitzpatrick thinks other options should be explored.

“As a parent, I think they should try to have half days or something because half of these kids are not going to want to wear a mask all day,” she said. “Who knows if they’ll wash their hands?”

Sells says St. Louis Public Schools will have an online option for parents and students who choose to go that route, but their goal is to have everyone back in the building and learning in a classroom with teachers and their classmates.

“Obviously, you’re worried about the health and safety of your child, so there’s always going to be a little bit of nervousness when sending your kids to school,” he said. “But again, we are confident about the measures we have taken to create a safe environment for those kids and our staff all around.”

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