By: Brendan Adams
St. Tammany Parish announced that, starting next school year, public schools will not have the option of online classes, leading to confusion for parents and students.
From the time schools received notice of the shutdown of schools due to the coronavirus last March, students have become accustomed to having classes online, but now, as schools re-open and begin face to face classes again, St. Tammany has made the decision to revert back to only offering in-person classes. This has left many questions unanswered for students, parents, and teachers, as some have enjoyed the convenience of working from home.
Mary Elmassion is one teacher that is not entirely sure why the schools are removing the online school option. As a teacher at Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, she thinks that students are not the only ones affected. Some parents of students in the St. Tammany Parish will miss the routine that comes with online learning: “I’ve heard some parents are upset because they like the stability. They like having structure.”
Some parents have enjoyed having their kids at home because they know where their kids are, as well as saving the time to drive their child to school, as some parents are their child’s ride. It allows the parent to focus on their work more while their child is doing classes online.
Though the coronavirus is still a disease that people should be weary of, the closing of virtual school could be a hopeful sign of things becoming a bit normal again.
Aby Lafleur, a senior at Fontainebleau High School, believes that there will not be much of a reason to keep online classes next year, as vaccines will help lower the numbers of people affected by the virus: “ Next year, quarantine probably will not be as big of an issue as it is this year, so there would be no point anymore being as though the students should be in school, they will not need to make up work all throughout the week so often.”
Though the virtual schools will be ending at the end of this school year, parents are allowed to contact schools about continuing their child’s virtual education if the child has medical needs that will keep them from attending school in person.
Meredith Mendez, the director of communications for St. Tammany Parish School Board, believes that reverting back to physical school will be beneficial for the student’s education, as they are more accustomed to in person learning: “Many parents have already transferred their children from the STPPS Virtual School back to their original school due lower COVID positivity rates in our parish and the need for face-to-face instruction.”
As the school year comes to an end, there will be some questioning on this decision, but hopefully, it will be a sign that things are changing for the better.