Parents Protest for In-Person Learning

Photo courtesy of Kelly Holdridge.

Steven Bonifazi

Over 350 parents have signed a petition to keep their students attending in-person learning as the Poudre School District has shifted to Phase 1 remote learning.

Kelly Holdridge, a Data Entry Clerk for Affirm and mother of three boys is leading the petition. Kelly’s children are all students in the Poudre School District (PSD) in pre-kindergarten and second and fourth grades. Kelly heads two Facebook groups in support of in-person learning called Poudre School District Parents for In-Person Learning and Parents With A Purpose, Get Our Kids Back in School.

“We have a couple hundred, maybe even four hundred parents or so between both the groups, and it keeps growing every day,” said Kelly. “The more vocal I am, the more that they are seeing it,” said Kelly.

Kelly is also in collaboration with other groups located out of Denver such as CO Districts Educational Alliance: Choice for In-Person Learning, who have been speaking with state senators and representatives with the goal of making in-person learning legislated. Kelly joined representatives at a demonstration rally in front of the state capital building in Denver on Monday, November 16 to show parents’ frustration with the decision to shift to remote learning.

The shift to remote learning came as PSD began to see a surge in positive cases among staff and students ultimately making teaching, feeding, and transporting students difficult. Additionally, the decision was made to switch to remote learning due to quarantining a large majority of students and staff as well as Covid-19 high risks in both Larimer County and Colorado in general.

“Amid an alarming deterioration of county and state health conditions, it is our duty to respond to the pandemic in a way that prioritizes the delivery of quality education, as well as health and safety,” said Madeline Noblett, Executive Director of Communications for Poudre School District. “No decision made has been easy, nor have any been ideal,” Madeline said.

PSD has recognized that the Covid-19 pandemic has made this year challenging for students, families, staff, and the greater community as students have had to miss playing with friends while parents juggle jobs, financial struggles, childcare, teaching at home, and much more.

Madeline stated that this is not the way the school district or parents and students want school to look like and most wish things could go back to the way they were before the virus. But currently, that is not a possibility. PSD’s current plan is for students to begin remote education starting Monday, November 23 through the end of winter break.

Kelly and parents that support in-person learning have scheduled a rally at the next school board meeting taking place Tuesday, November 24 at 5:30 pm at the Poudre School District at 2407 LaPorte Avenue in Fort Collins. The rally will begin at 5 pm and will be held outside the building as the public is not allowed inside due to Covid-19 restrictions. Parents are intent on showing members of the board their support for in-person learning as they walk into the meeting.

For parents like Kelly, the most frustrating aspect of remote learning is the lack of education the kids are getting. As importantly, is the mental aspect that comes with remote-learning that is taking a toll on her children.

“They are sad and depressed that they cannot go to school,” said Kelly. “We have had a lot of crying, screaming, saying they cannot do anything so that is my concern, the academics,” Kelly said.

Kelly aims to bring light to this situation in the Fort Collins area and inform everyone that she and other parents are not in agreement with what is taking place. On Tuesday, November 17 in addition to unveiling the state’s significantly revised Covid-19 risk dial, Colorado Governor Jared Polis encouraged schools to keep K-5 students learning in-person.

Staff from PSD have created solutions to continue feeding, transporting, and supporting their students with help from family and community partnerships. Teachers of PSD have also worked to re-invent remote teaching and learning beyond what it was in the spring semester of this year to support students and their families.

“We understand that our students, staff, and families would like to know more now so they can make plans, but we don’t yet know what community health conditions will be like next month and beyond,” said Madeline. “We will update the PSD community about our plans for January 5 and after as we monitor the situation through December,” Madeline said.


For more information regarding PSD’s rationale for shifting to remote-learning, visit:

https://www.psdschools.org/News/Gov.PolisNov17Remarks or to learn more about Kelly’s Facebook group titled Poudre School District Parents for In-Person Learning, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3506816209329931

 

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