SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - On Wednesday, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System announced that students would continue to learn virtually until further notice.
The decision was a district decision, and not discussed or voted on by the board of education. Board Chairman Dr. Joe Buck says the goal now is to get students back in the classroom as soon as possible, with a focus on young students and those with special needs first.
“I think those two groups will be the groups that we work toward getting in a face-to-face setting as soon as we can,” Dr. Buck said.
First District Board member Julie Wade took it a step further and said students in 6th and 9th grades and those in English as a second language classes should come back first when it’s safe.
“If you’re in kindergarten and your parents don’t speak English, you’re going to have a really hard time maneuvering online learning,” Wade said.
Wade says in her opinion, the extension of online learning is toughest on single moms having to go back to work, like Tonya Hamilton. Hamilton has a 7-year-old and 17-year-old in the school system.
“For me this is not an ideal situation, but I also have the support of having very good friends and a really great community to help me out...and the fact that my kids are spaced out,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton’s 7-year-old was diagnosed with ADHD and autism earlier this year, so she says not having a definitive end in sight for online learning is a concern.
“Now we don’t know what that’s going to look like. And he’s pretty much having to be kind of self-sufficient with this e-learning versus having all the hands-on and one-on-one attention from a teacher that he kind of thrives on,” Hamilton said.
While she wants that level of instruction for her youngest, Hamilton says she also understands the need to keep staff and faculty safe, too.
“We are very aware that it is a major inconvenience for parents who are working parents. And trying to do it all virtually, is, we’ve had hiccups with that because of Zoom and some other things,” said Dr. Buck.
Wade said she’d like the District to give parents clear milestones that need to be met before returning to in-person instruction.