COBB COUNTY, Ga - As COVID-19 cases rise, many parents are worried about sending their children back to the classroom. Some want to switch their children from in-person to virtual learning but many school districts aren't letting them.
"Without the mask mandate and the virus going up drastically it makes you uncomfortable to send your child to school," said Monique Crane.
Crane's daughter is a senior in the Cobb County School District. She's been virtual since the pandemic hit.
"I was on chemotherapy and my daughter has underlying health conditions, so she didn't feel comfortable going to the classroom," said Crane.
Crane says when her daughter couldn't log in on day one this year like she did last year, she learned the high schools were no longer doing online classes. Instead, she'd have to go through the Cobb Online Learning Academy, or COLA, that was set up for virtual learners.
"When I reached out to COLA they said they were full," said Crane.
Crane says she was told to homeschool her daughter or send her back to the classroom.
Cobb school leaders say when families were told to choose virtual or in-person learning back in the spring, a little more than 2000 students chose to learn online. A district spokesperson said providing a virtual teaching environment requires months of planning and budgeting. "Given the school year has already begun, making significant and abrupt changes in online learning options at this point would likely (and negatively) Impact virtually all 110,000 Cobb students and 9000 teachers".
Cobb County isn't the only district making parents stick to their decision. Bartow County schools also say the deadline has passed. Forsyth County Schools opened a short window for parents to choose to switch to virtual. Gwinnett County's deadline to choose what to do was later in the year, August 2. In Fulton County, 500 additional virtual seats were added. In Cherokee County, principals are making decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Crane says she wishes her daughter's school would be more flexible.
"The choice is being pulled away and it's like we're forced to send them in," said Crane.
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