LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. — Parents with children attending Limestone County’s online school are concerned after seeing a sample schedule posted by the school district.
Students going back to school virtually begin classes Wednesday, Aug. 12, but a mock schedule parents were not expecting was posted within two weeks of the start date. Parents found out their child may be required to sit in front of a computer for around six hours a day.
“Most of us are being forced to choose between making a living and the safety of our kids,” said Lindsay Looney, a Limestone County Schools parent. She says in many parents’ opinion, the schedule is not feasible.
“There’s just absolutely no way that working, you can make it work and even if you were a stay-at-home mom,” Looney said. “I don’t see how you can get your children to sit at home on a computer with the rigorous schedule from 8 to 2 that they have.”
Because of the fear of COVID-19 and the lack of flexibility in Limestone County’s back to school plan, Looney said she did not feel comfortable sending her daughter back inside school doors so soon, so her daughter Emma is enrolled in first grade virtually.
Looney said she and other parents expected there would be some flexibility with the school timeline. She said a schedule or a guideline for the children’s work would be sufficient. Instead, the children will be required to have periodic check-ins on the computer throughout the school day.
“We have technology in our home but she doesn’t sit on a tablet, she doesn’t sit on the computer,” said Looney. “So for us, that’s going to be really difficult because that’s not something that she’s used to. You’re forcing concentration and lack of distraction on these tiny brains that I just don’t think they are capable of handling.”
The post on Facebook generated more than 200 comments and questions from concerned parents, who Looney says are getting mixed answers.
“Will they be required to sign in at these times? Will they be counted absent? Will they be penalized for that? You have some parents getting one answer of: ‘No, as long as they stay on track, all is well, they won’t be penalized for it.’ And then you have the other ones getting answers of: ‘Absolutely, they have to stick to the schedule. They will be penalized.'”
Looney is now looking into pulling her daughter out of Limestone County Schools.
“I just feel like that Limestone County has really dropped the ball when it comes to the information that they’ve given us and the setup of this entire situation.”
She is urging the school board to listen to parents and their concerns, since they will be the ones teaching them at home.
WHNT News 19 reached out to Limestone County Schools for comment on the situation and have not received a response.