TULSA, Okla. — Learning at school or learning from home, parents just want what's best for their children.
Laura Robinson is hoping her son, 7-year-old Joshua, will be back in the classroom soon. He's a non-verbal and non-mobile special needs student at Carnegie Elementary School in Tulsa.
Robinson said his individualized education program is not fulfilled in distance learning, so they declined the TPS contingency learning plan and being away from the classroom is affecting him.
“He’s not as alert, as vibrant," Robinson said. "He misses that interaction. He’s more lethargic. He’s not eating as well. You know, he’s not as active.”
Meanwhile, Christina Byrne is opting to keep her three kids at home, one of whom is immunocompromised. While distance learning isn’t ideal, she said they’re making it work. She said they're learning new skills, like managing time.
“I see huge growth in like how they jump off from their curiosity," Byrne said. "They know so much more about finding out information because they’ve had to be such self-starters.”
Robinson hopes Joshua can return to the classroom on Jan. 25. If not, they may move to a new school district.
“Go ahead and let those that are not comfortable keep their kids at home," Robinson said. "But, I’m sorry, how dare you say, I pay taxes for this education. And you tell me my child can’t come to school where it’s the only place that the really, really learns.”
Byrne said public health is a priority to her and she wants to do everything she can to slow the spread of COVID-19. But at the end of the day, everyone is doing their best.
“To the friends and folks out there that, you know, have made different choices, like, you gotta do what’s best for your family, you have to," Byrne said. "And this is what’s best for my family.”
As of right now, TPS Pre-K through third graders and students with special needs will return to in-person learning on Jan. 25. Students in 4th grade through 12th grade will return to the classroom on Feb. 1. Parents do have the option to keep them in distance learning.
There is a TPS special board meeting Friday, Jan. 15, where they will discuss and possibly change when students return to school.
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