Parents react to Durham Public Schools decision to send students back to school

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Parents have mixed reactions to the Durham Public Schools' decision to bring students back to the classroom.

Originally, the district was scheduled to keep students learning virtually until the end of the school year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last night, the Board of Education voted to bring students back to school, some as soon as March 15.

Students still have the choice to opt into in-person learning.

Elementary students will be able to go to school every day, except Wednesday.

Middle and high schoolers will have in-person instruction four days over a three-week period. They'll be split up in three rotating groups.

When students aren't in the classroom, they'll continue learning remotely.

The board acted in anticipation of lawmakers passing Senate Bill 37, which would require all districts to allow an in-person learning option.

Glenn Baldwin and his wife have three daughters. Two of them go to Durham Public Schools. They plan to keep them in remote learning.

"I have my own selfish reasons that I don't want our children to be sick or to contribute to the spreading of the virus, but I'm also thinking about the others, like the teachers in the classrooms that have sacrificed so much for all of us to keep our children engaged at this time, but to put them at risk or put them in harm's way when we're so close to the end of the year, to us, at this time, seems unnecessary," Baldwin said.

Yolanda Bratcher has a son who goes to New Tech High School in Durham.

Her family is still deciding whether he'll go back to school or stay in virtual learning.

"I think that it was a necessary decision based on what's coming out of Senate Bill number 37," Bratcher said. "But honestly, I probably would have just waited. I was hoping that they were going to be able to wait until August, so that the kids could get a fresh start, but personally I think that K-5 really needs to be back in person, as soon as possible."

Baldwin said stability is another reason they're keeping their daughters virtual.

"We have some family members that are in different places that are in these in-person, hybrid models, and we've seen how they've had interruptions, upon interruptions, and interruptions," Baldwin said.

Senate Bill 37 still has to be signed by Governor Roy Cooper before becoming law. He has expressed some concerns with it.

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