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Rochester Public Schools parents react to virtual learning announcement

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:19 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – In less than a week, Rochester Public School (RPS) students will be logging on to their computer screens to learn from home.

The district announced yesterday that all students will have to do distance learning, for two weeks because of staff shortages.

On Thursday, RPS parents gave their reactions to the district’s decision.

“When I first got that message, I was relieved,” said Lydia Ewing- Green.

“I assumed that eventually, it would be coming,” said Stephanie Whitehorn.

“My thoughts were, ‘darn,’” said Guthrie Caposella.

“Kind of a letdown. I think we knew it was coming, but it was just that let down of, ‘here we go again.’ This is the third school year that distance learning is going to be affecting. And then the worries just come back for, ‘what about their education? How long will this one last? What am I going to do for backup care?’” said Erin Jenson.

Those reactions are relatable to many RPS parents.

Now they have less than a week to prepare their children to return to virtual learning.

“It’s not ideal but we’ve been through it before. We’re going to try to push through it. The only thing that I’m worried about is the kid’s mental well-being in the long run,” said Jeremy Zemple.

While some parents aren’t happy about their children going online, they do believe it’s the best choice.

“I’m more concerned that if we stay in person, will we have the teachers there to teach our students? And how negatively affected are we being if we make that decision to stay [in-person],” said Capossela.

One parent has a child with a pre-existing condition.

“He has been home, and we’ve been trying to decide what to do. So getting that message from the district, was a relief to us in that way as well. Because it gives us some time to watch and wait and get a booster up to speed,” said Ewing- Green.

Many of the parents we spoke to hope two weeks is enough.

“I think this is a good idea. But I do think people, parents, everyone will get restless if this because a long-term thing. I don’t think it’s a good idea long-term,” Whitehorn said.

“For my kids, personal growth is to be socially active, not just through a computer but person to person,” Zemple said.

RELATED STORY: Rochester Public Schools move to distance learning

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