Local parents making difficult decisions about sending children back to school

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s a question parents have been asking for months: what will school be like in the fall? 

Even though local school districts have sent out preliminary plans and started discussions about returning to school, parents and their children still have plenty of questions.

Three mothers are all having tough conversations with their kids.

Becky Renteria has a weakened immune system that puts her at high risk for COVID-19.

“We’re very careful. I haven’t left the house in four months. My son’s only left the house twice in four months,” Renteria explained.

Her 10-year-old son loves Pearce Elementary in Guilford County, but she’s worried about the risk even in socially distanced classrooms.

She doesn’t want to keep her son home but may have to depending on how the district decides to distance students.

“I think there’s still a lot more questions than there are answers,” Renteria said.

Courtney Willis doesn’t think students should be back in class five days a week just yet, especially after social distancing with her husband and son for the last four months.

“I would love personally a more hybrid model of being online and maybe a couple of days at school,” Willis stated.

She’s confident district leaders will make an informed decision after the first five weeks of remote learning.

“I do have a tremendous amount of confidence in our school system. I’m a big proponent of our public schools, and I believe that they’re going to do it the best way that they can during this situation that feels next to impossible,” Willis said.

Jessica Searcy understands parents want answers fast but patience is key during an unprecedented health crisis.

“I think we have to keep in mind that no one has a crystal ball in this situation, and no one has a playbook for how this should happen. Our kids are watching us, and they’re looking to us for stability right now, and we’re going to make it work no matter what scenario,” Searcy said.

As for the kids, Renteria’s son is anxious to know his classroom assignments.

“I think my son said it best when I asked him. I said ‘what are you worried about when starts?’ He goes, ‘how am I going to know who’s in my class, how am I going to know who my teacher is and what are we going to do for the first five weeks?’” Renteria recalled.

The Guilford County School Board will meet again on Tuesday, July 28 to further discuss and vote on school plans after the first five weeks of virtual learning. 

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