Should students return to school in the fall? Parents wonder what’s next

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — One semester of at-home learning is nearly complete, but could another one be coming in the fall?

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says it would be unlikely for us to see a coronavirus vaccine before it’s time for students to return to school this fall.

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That comment is leaving parents asking if there is going to be remote learning, or is it time to head back to the classroom?

Many parents are ready for their students to return to school for a variety of reasons.

Those include students who learn better in the classroom and students who have special learning needs that can’t be accommodated at home.



One mother in the Cape Fear says while she thinks her children should return to school in the fall, some adjustments should be made.

“I think that we probably have to be a little bit creative if they do go back to school, how we do that,” Alana McKeever said. “Whether it’s going to be a mix of remote learning with classroom learning. The teachers have done a really great job so far this year giving them extra platforms to use.”

Alana McKeever is a full-time nurse and mom of three.

She says home schooling has been a challenge. Her eighth grader and fifth grader are managing okay, but her first grader has special needs and she feels limited in how much she can help him.

“Since I am not home and his primary care-taker is my grandmother, it’s really limited how much I can help him get his school work done,” McKeever said. “I do feel like he’s going to lose a lot of progress this year, but that’s not something that can be totally avoided given the situation that we’re in.”

She says she has always appreciated teachers, but at-home learning has taken that appreciation to a whole new level.

“I appreciated them so much even before the pandemic, but even much more so now,” McKeever laughed. “I am not a teacher, I never thought I would be a teacher, I never wanted to be a teacher. This just solidifies my respect for the work that they do every day.”

Not only is this mom hoping to see her kids head back to school in the fall, 4th Grader Emory Michael is ready to head back to the classroom as well.

“I wanna be in my classroom because I feel like I learn better whenever I’m with other people and actually listening,” she said.

Emory and her younger brother, Harrison, love to learn and learning from home is a little challenging.

Emory says her teacher tries to help when she has a question, but it’s just not the same.

“In the classroom she would come up and explain a bit about it but here in Google Classroom she just kinda types it and I feel better with her telling me so I understand a bit more better,” she said.

Emory’s mom, Ashley Michael, says she would like to see her kids go back to school in the fall, but she knows it will be different.

“I think we all know that our normal is not going to be normal, it will be some aberration of that,” Michael said.

Michael says she would like to see a flexible schedule.

“Whether we’re rotating days and half days or something like that so we just don’t have that volume,” she said.

But, as a working mom, she knows that would be difficult for parents to find child care.

She’s not sure what the right moves are, but she would like to move forward while still being careful.

“I do hope to find whatever that right balance is. We have to be careful, we have to be safe. So don’t undo the things we have spent the last 6 to 8 weeks doing just because things are going to start to open up,” Michael said. “That doesn’t mean we forget and lighten up.”

Governor Cooper has said the opening of schools in the fall and year-round schools in July will depend on meeting health guidelines.

There has been no word yet on if remote learning will continue.