Parents, students discuss what they want to see as schools plan reopening

Parents, students discuss what they want to see as schools plan reopening

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham school leaders have been hard at work to discuss how they could return to school in the fall.

Wednesday is the final day of their pilot program that was designed to test their safety precautions and figure out what works best. School leaders though aren’t the only ones thinking about reopening school, so too are parents.

“I’m nervous about it because I feel like until we have a vaccine we don’t know if you’re really going to be safe or not,” said Paige Boyd, parent of students at Godley Station.

“If they can come up with a smooth transition, I think it will be OK,” said Jennifer Brooks, a parent at Groves. “But I think we’ve already had interrupted class learning time. How can we do it to where it’s not interrupted again and then kids are even further behind.”

Savannah-Chatham leaders are re-imagining how they could reopen school safely. While they are testing their protocol and also looking for family feedback on a survey. Some students say they want to get back to class.

“I want to go back to school cause I am really missing my friends and I just do not want to miss another day,” said Zachary Roach, 5th grade student at Garrison.

“In person class is a little better because that way you understand better the material, whereas online you feel like it is a little bit difficult to learn anything,” said Amairani Velazquez, a Georgia Southern University student.

While they want to return to the class, leaders are discussing how that works. They are making plans to have extra sanitization, socially distance students and cut down exposure. One discussion they are still having is about PPE for students. While teachers will wear masks, some parents don’t want kids to do the same.

“I feel like having especially like first graders wear a mask is not going to be feasible,” said Paige Boyd. “And two studies have proven that wearing a mask the kids are going to touch their faces more and so I feel like germs are going to be spread that way.”

Zachary is in fifth grade and says he’s willing to make changes to help keep others safe.

“I like sanitizing one just to keep your own self clean two to protect you,” said Zachary Roach. “And wearing a mask very uncomfortable, but I like, and the only reason I like it is that it helps you keep safe a bit.”

School leaders say cleaning will be a priority from hand hygiene to sanitizing the building. Though parents of younger kids we spoke to have some reservations, those with high schoolers say they trust their student to follow the guidelines. They also feel smaller classes for social distancing will help children.

“It will probably improve learning too,” said Jennifer Brooks. “You don’t have so many kids in the classroom, you can focus more so it’s probably a good thing.”

Parents we spoke to say they’d like leaders to consider an earlier start date with an extended winter break knowing a resurgence is possible. Ultimately, they appreciate the districts attention to detail and are anxious to see what they decide.

It’s not too late to tell the district what you want in their reopening survey. Results are due on Friday, June 26.

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