HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – Tensions were high during Thursday night’s school board meeting as members debated three options for sending Hamilton County students back to in-person learning.
After about two hours of debate, the board ended up deferring that decision to the superintendent, passing a resolution that would allow his task force to reevaluate the old plan and make a decision regarding reopening.
However, parents are not pleased with the current condition of virtual learning, with many saying that it’s put a strain on them as they try to juggle work with homeschooling.
“I have to take pictures of anything she does. I have to upload it. Up until this last weekend, I was doing it the hard way and so we were getting behind. It’s hard on parents who have jobs – I have a job, I work,” says one parent, Nikki Voiles.
Voiles says that the method hasn’t been effective for ensuring that kids are actually learning.
“There’s something about being face to face with your teacher, there’s something about being in the classroom with your peers that it works for her.”
She also says that she’s concerned about the teachers.
“It’s hard to see them struggle because they didn’t go to school to teach a head – a floating head on the computer screen. It’s hard on all of them and I wish that they would listen to the parents a little bit more. They’re not listening to us.”
Hamilton County teachers Claire Millsaps said that while that a lot was talked about during the meeting, one thing that wasn’t discussed was teacher representation.
“I have been teaching in Hamilton County for close to fifteen years. And I have never had the need to write to my school board member until this year. That to me is sending a letter that may or may not get read, that may or may not have any impact,” says Millsaps.
Millsaps says the district needs to do more to make sure that teachers are getting heard.
“I would like to see a teacher from an elementary school, a teacher from a middle school and a teacher from a high school who are at every single meeting and aren’t just there to sit on the side and get asked questions, but someone who is there with a vote.”