LPS reacts to parents’ split responses for Safe Return to School plan

So what do parents think? The results of an online survey are out. Not all are impressed

LINCOLN, Neb. — (KLKN) Earlier this month Lincoln Public Schools released their plan for the upcoming school year.
Officials said masks were voluntary for staff who were vaccinated. Students would not have to wear them.
So what do parents think? The results of an online survey are out.
Not all are impressed. The return to school plan for this year has some parents split. They were encouraged to give their two cents online. The response showing 116 agreed with the plan. But, 438 think it should be more restrictive and 411 responded it should be less restrictive.

But Dr. Steve Joel says he is not surprised.

“It reflects the divisiveness in the country right now right and in Lincoln,” said Dr. Steve Joel. Several emails today, on both sides of the equation, get rid of masks make everybody wear a mask so when you’re confronted with that and it looks like a 50/50 split almost when you look at the numbers. Then we have to step back and simply ask ourselves this question. What’s best for kids?”

Dr. Joel says the board listened to a majority of teachers who said remote learning was not as productive as in-class learning. Unless you’ve already signed up for it. For the entire school, it won’t be an option for students in the classroom, even if they get COVID.

“We’re not going to have the hybrid option this year, so you know for students … You don’t want to get quarantined next, right, because you’re going to miss out you’re going to have a chance to make the workup,” said Joel. “But it isn’t going to be via zoom, because we asked our teachers to move mountains last year by teaching not only in person but also students remotely.”

As far as remote learning for grades k through 8, Joel says sign-up numbers continue to be low.

“We started out with a higher number and the numbers continue to go down,” said Joel. “We attribute that to the fact that I think for the vast majority of parents have confidence in decision making of schools being safe.”

Masks are optional for students but strongly recommended for the older ones, if not fully vaccinated. Teachers and volunteers are required to wear a mask if not fully vaccinated. Volunteers can show proof of vaccination or they are required to wear a mask.
“You know we did get some reaction to that,” said Joel. “People didn’t, you know (said), your school should be open, we don’t have to wear masks, you know, we’re not doing mass in a grocery store, why do we have to mask? I mean, that’s just a common argument but again, 42,000 kids about 1,000 staff. We got to keep them as safe as possible. “
Dr. Joel adds ultimately, they will check and revise the plan weekly if needed. Especially with the delta variant right now, the goal is to keep schools safely open for students and staff.

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