Rather than wait for a plan from their school districts, which are grappling with how to safely hold classes this fall, some parents in Massachusetts are coming up with plans of their own.
In recent weeks, many families have looked to tutors to replace teachers in the fall.
“It’s all anyone talks about,” said Beck Oag of Marshfield.
While the mother of two would prefer to see her children back in a classroom, she and several neighbors are looking to alternatives. If their school district opts to do remote learning for some or all of the week, families want to have someone in place to help.
“The interest is overwhelming because the parents don’t want to go through what we went through this past winter,” said Oag of the school closures this past spring.
The idea has become so popular, even teachers are considering leaving their roles to find work as a tutor.
“We have gotten a lot of requests over the last two weeks,” said Alexandra Breube of Boston Tutoring in Dracut.
Like many parents, educators are concerned that returning to the classroom could lead to a spread of COVID-19.
“A lot of tutors are reaching out because they don’t want to go back to their districts,” Breube explained, “So, I’m getting a lot of applicants.”
To save costs on private sessions, many parents are pooling their resources to create a learning pod with family friends, allowing them to group their kids together and share a tutor.
“We can gather a number of kids in the same grade, or similar grade levels, and take on the learning approach, at least together, in a social setting,” said Maria Adamo of North Grafton.
But the preferred setting for many is still a school. Districts must submit three plans to the state — one each for in-person learning, remote learning and a hybrid of the two.
Oag’s hope is the planning allows students to return some days a week. But if not, she will come up with her own plan and try to figure out how to pay for it.
“All of a sudden we have this expense of private tutoring or private pod or babysitting that is not something we planned or budgeted for that we now have to,” Oag said.