Parents react to district reopening plans

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Right now, families across Northeast Kansas are trying to figure out how to educate their children this fall.

Candis Meerpohl has two boys in the Topeka Public School District.

She says the past few months have been challenging.

“It’s been kind of a roller coaster. I know everybody’s just kind of waiting to see what we’re supposed to do, waiting to see what’s going to happen,” Meerpohl said.

Now that Topeka Public School District has released their plan, she says she’s relieved to know what to expect going into the fall.

According to their plan, schools will have a delayed start after labor day, with every student learning virtually to start.

After 5 to 7 days, students will get phased into a hybrid model of learning of in-person and online.

Once students are learning in person again, they’ll be split into two groups to allow room for social distancing.

“It’s inconvenient, it’s a lot of steps, but I know that they have the kids, the teachers, and the community’s health in mind,” Meerpohl said.

Julie Anne Pummill is another mom in the Topeka Public School District.

She has a compromised immune system and thinks the two different groups aren’t enough separation. But she has no choice but to send them.

“I have to go take care of my health, so I can’t make sure they’re doing their school and my health both at the same time,” Pummill said. “So they need to be at the school.”

D’Andre Hausler has children in the Shawnee Heights School District. She’s still waiting for a plan from them.

“I’m ready. I’m prepared to home school him so that he can have a relaxed environment to learn in and not have to worry about what happens if I don’t walk the right way in the hallway,” Hausler said. “Those things concern me. Our kids have a lot of stress on them right now and getting them back to school is extremely important to me.”

Based on what she’s researched about the coronavirus pandemic, she doesn’t think there is a high risk for children and ideally wants them back to school like normal.

“All I hear is safety, safety, safety. I don’t see any risk for kids,” Hausler said. “I just don’t, I don’t see the risk there.”

According to the Shawnee County Health Department, 155 people between the ages of 0-19 have gotten the virus. That’s 13% of all cases in Shawnee County.

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