SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools students are almost two weeks into virtual learning and parents say they are frustrated. So frustrated, there’s a petition circulating with almost 20,000 signatures asking SCS to shorten the school day.
FOX13′s spoke with parents about their concerns.
The parent who organized the petition said she was so stressed out she started the petition after the first day of school. She said it’s difficult making sure her child is paying attention and understanding everything during virtual learning.
“I noticed it was very distracting for him to be in front of the camera for so long live,” Arionna Onley told FOX13.
Onley said it only took a few hours into the first day of school for her to realize virtual learning isn’t easy. She has a 6 year-old-boy who she described as pretty active.
“He’s wanting to stop and eat or stop and have a conversation or stop and do certain things,” she said.
She is asking for Shelby County Schools to shorten the school day. Instead of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., she would like classes to end at noon.
“I felt it was necessary to see if it was just me or if others agreed and I went to sleep and woke up and I guess people did,” Onley said.
According to the SCS Virtual Learning Guide, students are given 30 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes of independent study every day, but it depends on the student’s grade level and each individual school to make that decision.
Onley said she wants the study period to last longer.
“I want to make sure that whatever concept he is being taught he is grasping it or if he’s not, he has time to work through it,” she said.
FOX 13 reached out to SCS.
In a statement, the district said it’s required to meet the Department of Education’s requirements.
Shelby County Schools is committed to providing high quality instruction to all students. Even in a virtual setting, we must ensure the Tennessee Department of Education’s (TDOE) requirements are met. The daily virtual learning schedule is aligned with the State’s required allotment of time for each content area, elective, and intervention period. Independent work and physical activity is also built into each day. We do not expect students to work on-screen for 6.5 hours continuously each day. Schools have customized their schedules to maximize student engagement while also recognizing our students and families are adjusting to the virtual learning environment. As always, we value family input and continue to ask for grace and patience as we navigate through this new normal together.
Onley said so far, no one has contacted her from the district.
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“A little disheartening that no one has reached out or said 'hey let’s have a convo or a parent forum,” Onley said.
Onley told FOX13 she recognizes that the district is doing the best it can.
She said she hopes the petition and its 20,000 signatures leads to a conversation about how to make the school day easier for parents, especially for ones like her who work throughout the week.
To read and/or sign the petition, CLICK HERE.
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