JENKS, Okla. — As Governor Kevin Stitt is calling for more substitute teachers to keep schools open, one Jenks mom says she wants distance learning.
Shannon Boughner is both a mom and a doctor working on the frontlines of the pandemic. Two of her three children attend Jenks High School, and both are home right now due to COVID.
“Of course I want my kids to be in-person, that’s the whole reason that we chose in-person, but at this point and time, there’s no way that they can consistently be in-person every day and get an education," Boughner said.
Because two of her children have COVID, her third child, a middle schooler, also has to stay home. With their schools currently in in-person learning, it leaves them receiving assignments online.
“But there’s no classroom education that’s posted online for them to actually get teaching," Boughner said. "It’s just left for them to try to teach themselves and do that work.”
Boughner’s frustration comes as Governor Kevin Stitt authorizes about 32,000 state employees to substitute teach as schools face a shortage of teachers.
“Oklahoma students deserve that option of being in-person, in-class, with their teachers," Gov. Stitt said.
State Secretary of Education Ryan Walters echoed the governor. He said he will do everything he can to keep schools open.
“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic the negative health impacts when it comes to the mental health of a young person, when it comes to the academics of young people that do not have in-person school," Walters said. "So we have been working to keep schools open from day one so that our students have that option.”
However, Boughner said it’s not just the teachers missing from class. When her children are in the classroom, she said half of their classmates have been out. She said classes remaining in-person are actually causing problems for those stuck at home who are left struggling on their own.
“I understand that they want to have teachers covered, and if that was the only absence that we have right now was teachers, then I think that that would be a great idea," Boughner said. "But we have students that are missing and we can’t replace those students with other people. And we can’t replace their education if we’re not doing distance learning.”
Gov. Stitt said they could start getting substitutes together as soon as Wednesday.
2 News Oklahoma is tracking schools in distance learning, you can find that info here.
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