SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Parents, students and teachers of Springfield Public Schools (SPS) gathered in Park Central Square Monday, July 27, to protest the new re-entry plan announced by SPS.
Those at the protest were demanding SPS allow children to attend school five days a week.
Right now, parents have the option of full-time virtual learning or a blend of virtual and two days of in-person classes.
An SPS student at the protest says online classes are more challenging to learn from than in-person.
“The education is going to be lacking and their [students] mental health is really struggling,” said Jaidyn Pohlsander, an 8th grader at Pleasant View Elementary. “A lot of kids are just really having a hard time. I’m straight-A student normally and I struggled a lot in my classes because it was online.”
Parents are planning to bring their concerns to the Springfield Public Schools Board Meeting coming up soon.
“My kids love school,” said Shanti Pohlsander, an SPS mom. “They love their teachers. They love their friends. They love the education that we get in Springfield Public Schools and they want to be at school.”
One paraprofessional at the protest says the kids need to be back in school.
“As they’re saying right now, computers aren’t teachers and I know there’s a significant amount of kids who are not going to be able to learn through three days online and two days in person,” said Kayleen Lee, a paraprofessional at Bissett Elementary. “Even if it doesn’t do anything, I was here. We were all here. We tried to help them. There’s even kids out here, which says a lot. They know that they need to be in school. They know that that’s what they want.”
Springfield Public Schools didn’t respond to the protest, but says parents need to make a decision by Friday, July 31, if their child will go to school virtually or do a blend of virtual and in-person classes.
SPS says children who choose the blended learning will have in-person class two days a week.
School leaders say days of attendance will be staggered by last name to try and minimize class sizes.