Some parents unhappy with Gwinnett County Public School's decision to move to online learning

Gwinnett County Public Schools announced on Monday they will switch gears and move to all virtual learning for the upcoming fall semester. 

The district previously said parents would be allowed to make the decision to enroll their child in virtual learning or in-person classes. 

Some parents expressed concerns over the district's reversal. 

"You have a right to make the decision for your family, whether it's digital, whether it's in person. Why did that change where now we don't get to make that decision?" said Callie Wooten, a parent. 

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Wooten said her family moved to Gwinnett County specifically because of the schools. She said the district is not taking into consideration the opinions of students and parents. 

"When things are good, they're great at taking care of our kids. Now that things are bumpy, and its ok, parents we heard you but we're going to disregard your opinion and we're going to make a decision without holding a meeting. We're just going to change our votes and then blindside you with an email Monday morning," Wooten said. 

Her concerns are also shared by Michelle Shrope,  a parent to three students in the district. 

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She said the decision leaves working parents, like herself and her husband, with more to worry about. 

"It's going to be hard for us to make sure they're home doing what they're supposed to be doing. Not to mention feeding them, them not burning down the house, making sure they're doing their work," Shrope said. 

Glenda Brown takes care of her two grandsons who are students in the Gwinnett County public schools. 

Brown said she received the results of a district-wide survey last month and learned her grandsons would have the option for in-person learning. 

"The vote came in that most parents wanted in-classroom. Those results were sent in an email from the superintendent. It was stated that yes, there will be in school learning, but for the students that wanted virtual- they would have at home virtual learning," Brown said. 

Brown's grandsons will be in the 5th and 11th grades in the fall and she said the online model just does not work for them. 

"In order to do online learning, especially for the younger ones, they need someone there to assist them, especially if there is a technical issue, but even beyond that. They need that group or either one on one. And then the older ones, the high schoolers. Unfortunately, you need to be disciplined for online learning. teenagers are apathetic about school. I think a lot of the reasons they go to school as much as they go is for the social interaction," Brown said. 

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Some students FOX 5 spoke with said classes have become more difficult in an online platform. 

"Our teachers will give out videos and stuff but I'm not that type of learner, so it's harder for me," said Callie Shrope, a freshman in high school. 

"Everything was on like a PowerPoint and stuff it was hard to teach yourself. And plus, you don't know if you're doing anything wrong because no one can check you," said Chloe Jones, a freshman in high school. 

The school district said it reversed its decision because of the rise in COVID 19 cases. 

They assure parents they'll put measures and assessments in place to make sure digital learning is as effective as possible.  

The superintendent said in a news release: 

 “We are confident we can do digital learning well, thanks to the quality teachers and leaders we have in this district, the comprehensive preparation over the last four months, and our steadfast commitment to do what’s best for Gwinnett students.”