Beatrice family at odds with school over remote learning

A Beatrice family says the district won't allow their children to attend school remotely, but the district says it's because they don't have the resources.

In smaller communities, the struggle with COVID-19, schools, and remote learning can intensify. Crystal Kuklish and her family are a prime example of why.

Although school started close to two weeks ago, Kuklish’s children have yet to go.

“The kids are bored, they want to go back to school, they’re ready, but…it’s too much of a risk.”

Too risky for crystal’s 13–year–old daughter, Jaelyn, who suffers from CVID.

“Common variable immune deficiency. It’s an autoimmune disorder where her body is attacking it so she has no antibodies to fight any type of infection, flu viruses, bacteria,” Kuklish says.

Jaelyn has been approved for remote learning because of her immune deficiency but Kuklish’s four other children are being required by the district to go to in-person learning even though they could expose her and despite direction from Jaelynn’s doctor.

Kuklish and her family are hoping the school district will make an exception, and look deeper into the ramifications if Jaelyn were to get exposed to COVID-19 through one of her siblings.

However, Beatrice Public Schools superintendent Jason Alexander says he’s following state laws, and that the district simply doesn’t have the means.

“Obviously there could be compromised families, many compromised families that would have someone in their family that they would not want the virus to go home to, I totally understand that, but a district our size does not have the resources necessary whether its the staffing resources or other to make accommodations for every student that may be in that type of situation,” Alexander says.

“There’s a huge difference in the amount of resources available in Lincoln than the amount of resources available in Beatrice and that points specifically towards human resources.”

Alexander and the district site state statute 79–202, which is the mandatory attendance law. It exempts students with illnesses from school, that make attendance ‘impractical.’

“So, we’re requesting that those kids come to school at state statute requires them to,” Alexander says.

Alexander says he feels for crystal’s family and others who are in the same boat. But, other than homeschooling, he says there aren’t other options.

So for now, crystal and her family are waiting to figure out a plan, but it isn’t easy, since she and her husband have been jobless since march.

“Lik,e we can’t just get up and pack up and move to Lincoln you know to be able to go to a remote learning school,” Kuklish tells Channel 8 Eyewitness News reporter Marlo Lundak.

If the other Kuklish kids miss more than 20 days of school, the matter will be turned over the county attorney. Kuklish says she has the proper documentation and support from doctors and social workers to support her case.

Categories: Education News, Gage, Nebraska News