Open schools full time

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2021

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I wrote a letter to the SoCo Superintendent of Schools, the principals and to the school Board members. This is an edited version of that letter.

I applaud you on your successful planning for virtual teaching. You have done a great job; however, you need to plan to open the schools full time. There is no reason (a lot of excuses but no reasons) not to open the schools. The CDC has said it is safe if you plan safely. Parents have a right to have their kids and grandkids attending a public school that is open as it should be full time.

This plan for two days is totally unacceptable. If the parents do not want to have their kids attend, they have options. Parents who have to get them to school for two days and have someone with them at home for two days are planning for failure. How can parents manage this? Not everyone has a fulltime babysitter. Not everyone has the luxury of being retired. Not everyone has a grandparent able to help out. Get those kids in school full time. It is not hard to do. Spend the virtual planning time on school planning. Make it work. Private schools have made it work. Florida, for one, has made it work. Southampton County can make it work if they want to.

Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade suffer the most. They need to be in class in school. High schoolers suffer the most. They suffer from depression, from social withdrawal, from lack of sports participation, from planning for their futures. Third through 5th grade suffer the most. They are expanding their knowledge and ability to work through friendships, plan school projects, even how to eat in the cafeteria. Sixth grade through 8th graders suffer the most. They have to deal with changing classes on a large scale, sports through the school, real consequences for study habits, changing hormones.

I just saw on the news that Gov. [Ralph] Northam says to have them back by March 15. I know that you can do it before then because of the extremely great virtual planning. Start now. It can be done if you want it done. Some of the greatest minds and planners around are right here in Southampton County and in the school system.

Stay safe and healthy,

Rebecca Butler