Coronavirus, Education, Local, News

Multitudes of Atlanta Public School Parents, Educators Keep Demanding Alternative Reopening Plans

At a recent Atlanta Public Schools Board meeting, the district issued its reopening plan. Pre-K through fifth grade and some special education students go back this month. Grades six to 12 could potentially go back come November.
At a recent Atlanta Public Schools Board meeting, the district issued its reopening plan. Pre-K through fifth grade and some special education students go back this month. Grades six to 12 could potentially go back come November.
Credit Brynn Anderson / Associated Press file

Parents of Atlanta Public School students have until Monday to decide whether their children will return to the classroom or continue with virtual learning.

At a recent APS Board meeting, the district issued its reopening plan. Pre-K through fifth grade and some special education students go back this month. Grades six to 12 could potentially go back come November.

The decision rests on the number of Georgia’s positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

But many APS parents and educators are questioning the plan, citing a myriad of reasons. APS parent Sara Totonchi has organized a petition that lays out those questions. She told WABE’s “All Things Considered” host Jim Burress that even more stakeholders have signed onto the letter since it was sent to the board on Monday.

“We’re now at 3,600 signatures of APS community members. That includes more than 1,700 parents, and more than 1,400 APS staff members, which is more than 22% of the entire APS workforce that have signed on stating their concerns,” Totonchi said.

On WABE’s “Closer Look,” APS Superintendent Lisa Herring recently acknowledged the complexity of parents and educators concerns, on both sides.

“I have this humungous responsibility to make decisions that are carefully executed,” Herring said.

“And whether there is patience or impatience, we have to think first around what will allow for us to, first of all honor the data and the science around the safe environment, and then secondly, phase that in such a way that we don’t create an unintended consequence that puts us at a higher risk.”

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.