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Parents, teachers have mixed reactions to TPS reopening some schools

Posted at 10:31 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 08:42:02-04

TULSA, Okla.  — Tulsa Public Schools' parents and teachers are giving mixed reactions to the TPS Board of Education's decision to reopen schools for elementary school students.

READ MORE: TPS school board votes to send some students back to in-person learning

“I can’t make it work," said Hayley Bump, a TPS parent.

Bump is grateful distance learning is coming to an end for her two children in elementary school with TPS. The single mother of five said it’s tough to work full-time and help her children learn.

“They’re not learning anything," Bump said. "All they’re learning is that my mom yells at me. And 'I have to do this and I hate it.'”

Shawna Mott-Wright is a parent, teacher and president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association. She said 64 percent of TPS teachers surveyed didn’t want to return to the classroom. Monday night's board meeting surprised her.

“We felt like they came in with plan A and plan B," she said. "And we knew it was going to be A or B and then all of a sudden it was plan Y.”

Mott-Wright said her own kids will remain in distance learning for their safety. She also said the district faces too many unknowns about returning in-person. She worries for teachers headed back to the classroom.

“They’re concerned for the health of their loved ones and sometimes themselves," she said. "I am concerned for their mental health. I am concerned for the children in their class.”

For Bump, she’s ready for life to get somewhat back to normal. As a health professional, she said she understands the worries teachers are going through and is ready to support them.

"Teachers in Tulsa public rise to the occasion and I know they can this time, too," Bump said.

The board still has to decide how middle school and high school students will continue learning. That discussion will happen at its next meeting, Monday, Oct. 19.

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