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Some Triad parents seek new ways to educate their kids for the new school year

From looking for tutors to virtual school co-ops, parents are getting creative to keep their kids safe and educated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Many parents are looking into what plans their school districts have begun to put in place after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper gave the all-clear for schools to reopen in the fall. 

School districts will decide how they plan to reopen which could include operating in a limited capacity, with a combination of online learning and in-person classes.

Some Triad parents have concerns about the reopening plans and have opted to go a different route.

Two dads who spoke to WFMY News 2 said their kids would be homeschooled this academic year in order to keep them in a controlled and safe environment while limiting their exposure to contract COVID-19.

RELATED: 'There is no ideal solution here' | Guilford County Schools discusses options for reopening in the fall

"I didn't like the decision at all. I had always kind of planned to home school my kids in the beginning because of the cases going up the way they are and the uncertainty of the virus," Demetrius Battle of Greensboro said.

Battle, a dad of a two-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy, said his son was supposed to start pre-K public school in August.

"I was talking with my wife and I saw where they added a runny nose to the symptoms and I'm like, 'what's next?'" Battle said.

Battle said he spent several days in quarantine after a hair client contacted him to inform him he tested positive for COVID-19. Battle who owns Resurrections Cuts said the client at the time had no symptoms. 

 "The CDC says if you're in close contact with somebody positive, basically you need to take 14 days. So, I just decided to shut the suites down and I myself got tested last Wednesday and I got my results back and it was negative," he said.

Battle doesn't want his children to have the same kind of COVID-19 risk.

RELATED: Gov. Cooper announces Plan B reopening option for North Carolina schools. Here's what it means.

 Another father, Scott Bonds of Greensboro owns Industry 21 Salon and also an apparel business and works from home. He also, decided homeschooling is his family's plan for his children's education this academic year. 

"I don't feel comfortable in sending my son to school with so many unknown variables in this equation," Bonds said.

He thinks it could be too difficult for children to learn and practice social distancing.

"I can't see them social distancing for sure, I can't see them not playing with toys, or not touching other toys and other books and other desks. Like it just doesn't make sense to me," Bonds added.

For many Guilford County parents, there are also concerns about not having the option of in-person learning for the first five weeks of the new school year. There are also concerns about access to resources and equity in the learning process for those who choose to stay home.

"My concern would be what plans are going to be put in place to help out those who can't necessarily afford the equipment to do virtual training," pondered Battle.

"It was a no brainier. There's no way I was just going to send my six-year-old into a school system blindly, not knowing what's going to happen or if anything at all. I'm just not going to do that," insisted Bonds.

RELATED: Guilford County Schools to launch two tuition-free virtual schools

However, not all families have the luxury of alternative options. For low-income families and single parents in Guilford County, the first five weeks of the new school year could mean working from home, getting a home school tutor and childcare, or even quitting a job. One Greensboro mom said the only option available to her right now is for her kid to be in school because she is a single working mom.

"Why didn't they start a month ago preparing for August 17," Michelle Rahenkamp said. 

"I don't have a plan yet. All I know is that I not only can't do it, but I don't want to, I'm not a teacher. I didn't become a teacher for a reason," Rahenkamp said.

She and some other moms are making their other plans for back-to-school to fit their unique family needs during the pandemic. They're getting creative and looking for tutors or forming virtual school co-ops.

"I'm looking for an educator or some teacher who could have a class for five or six kids of my son's age," she added. 

Another mom started a Facebook group to help pair parents with resources. She is also turning her daycare center into an e-learning center.

"I just want to make sure that I can reach out to others and there are other people that are wanting to help. All the people who are in my group now who I know, I'm not going to be able to house, but I am definitely wanting to give them more places that they can reach out to," Keeyama Mumford said. 

Mumford owns Scholars In Training Education Center on Skeet Club Road in High Point. She is also the administrator of the Facebook group called E-Learning at SITEDU Center and started homeschooling her daughter two years ago.

"The parents are just looking for help, some answers, and some educational guidance on what they can do with their children. A lot of them are needing an actual physical location. So, that's how we got on the e-learning and me personally, early childhood development is my level of expertise and I have been in contact with my educator friends who have a license for K-12 and I have some babies here whose parents are also teachers," Mumford said.

According to Mumford, two teachers have come on board to assist with the e-learning program and she is still speaking with some others.

"Godspeed to all the parents because we have a hard road ahead. It's good to know that I'm not alone and I just need to reach out to people so I don't feel alone because last night I felt very alone," Rahenkamp said.

RELATED: Keep kids and teachers safe: The real work begins for the Guilford County School District

RELATED: Gov. Cooper announces Plan B reopening option for North Carolina schools. Here's what it means.

RELATED: Alamance-Burlington Schools announces A-B day schedule as part of reopening school plan for new academic year


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