Parents React to Worcester Public Schools' Fall Reopening Plan

Two models are being discussed among parents, school committee members and the Worcester superintendent

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Ahead of a virtual meeting with school committee members and the superintendent of Worcester Public Schools, parents are reacting to the district's hybrid fall reopening plans.

The virtual meeting was scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and expected to discuss two hybrid back-to-school models the district came up with earlier this week.

In the "50% Model," 50% of students would be occupying a school building at a time, with two days of in-person learning and three days of remote learning each week. In the "1/3 Model," one-third of students would be occupying a building at one time, with one day of in-person learning, one day of direct at-home teaching and three days of remote learning each week.

"I'm not against it, only because there are a lot of parents that still need to go to work and things like that, but for us and our child, I think staying home and doing online learning the rest of the year, might be cohesive for her to learn," Worcester parent Tiana Dickerson said Wednesday.

Dickerson and Shalanda Stanley said their 11-year-old daughter, Telia, actually preferred remote learning when schools shut down back in March.

"I like staying home with my parents, Telia said.

"At this point in time, I think it's kind of better," Stanley added.

But some parents, like Tricia Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Ruben will be going into first grade in the fall, aren't on the same page.

"It was hard. He wouldn't sit down, he wouldn't. Kids are different when they're at school, they listen better to the teacher," Lewis said. "I'm not sure because I don't think they're ready to open yet."

For parents like Lewis, the frustration is palpable.

"He was a great student, but at home, 'I'm tired, are we done yet?'" she said, imitating her son's response to remote learning.

Community leaders like New Hope Mission Church Reverend Dr. T. Dweh Wiah caution that school leaders need to keep in mind the students without parental support who don't have the structure at home to learn when outside of school.

"If kids fall behind, I don't want us to put the blame on them," Wiah said.

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