Districts’ hybrid plans leave parents looking for answers

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BREWERTON, N.Y. (WSYR- TV) — Many school districts in Central New York have released hybrid plans to reopen schools in the age of COVID-19. This means students in some grades would receive in-person instruction two days a week, and learn virtually from home the other three, which simply will not work for some parents.

While the plans aim to limit the amount of students in the building at one time and give schools a full day to sanitize, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered regarding child care, for both the parents and the county governments.

at his press conference Friday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said while he agrees with many aspects of the hybrid plans, it’s the districts’ responsibility to find a solution.

“Right now, you’re just passing the buck, what it looks like, to the county government, saying ‘you’re going to have to figure that out.’ Or to the parents, to the taxpayers, who pay the bills, ‘you’re going to have to figure out how to watch the kids.’ Neither one of those is an acceptable answer.”

Ryan McMahon
Onondaga County Executive

School districts do allow parents to opt out of the hybrid plan, meaning the students would learn virtually, from home, all five days of the school week. However, many parents say that isn’t an option that would work for them.

Deb Tilton from Brewerton is a mother of three sons, ranging from preschool to first grade. She works full-time from home, and her husband is able to work from home on occasion as well. However, their at home work doesn’t have flex hours, and they need to be done within the business day, making teaching from home difficult.

“It’s not just that we both are working – it’s that our kids are so young, and we are not educators. We are not trained educators.”

Deb Tilton
Mother of three

A big worry for the Tiltons is the quality of their kids’ education taking a hit. She says her younger sons need the social interaction at their age, and feels their learning is affected without the classroom environment.

“We set up a classroom in one of their bedrooms, and that was the classroom. But it’s still one of their bedrooms, in their home. And I’m mom, I’m not the teacher, so the dynamic is very different than it would be with them and their teacher. I can’t pull the same things out of them that their teacher can. They respond very differently to mom.”

Deb Titlon
Mother of three

Finding daycare is a whole other obstacle. Her sons also attend two separate districts, meaning two separate schedules to juggle.

After their in-home day care provider retired, they began using their preschool’s program, which has been shut down since all the schools closed at the height of the pandemic, and hasn’t established a new after-school program yet.

Tilton says she is looking into other options, including the YMCA, but may need to depend on her kids’ grandparents to help out.

“It’s like trying to put a puzzle together without all the pieces.”

Deb Tilton
Mother of three

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