NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - After a successful rally with dozens asking Jefferson Parish school leaders to push back the start of school, coordinators say it’s clear the message resonated with many.
“I think it’s a very deeply and broadly felt issue not just in Jefferson Parish,” Jeffrey Barrois said.
As a Jefferson parish teacher himself, coordinator, Barrois says there is still a lot of fear about returning to the classroom. Union leaders have met with school leaders, but the district’s plan still stands. Teachers are due back in the classroom Monday.
“Most of us don’t know what our plan is going to look like as of Monday so we’re walking into we don’t know what situation,” Barrois said.
That’s why Barrois says they’re going a step above, planning a protest at the Governor’s mansion, hoping to compel him to move the state back to phase 1. The district’s back-to-school plan would then go 100 percent virtual.
“I don’t think it’s him making any kind of decision or harm or economy I think this is a move that would save lives,” Barrois said.
With four kids, all under the age of 13, parent Henry White says they briefly considered sending their children back to the classroom but says that brought up too many concerns.
“It’s going to be nearly impossible to get them to stay sanitized and keep their mascon we didn’t see it was gonna be a good option,” White said.
He says now that he’s home more than normal, it was an easy fit to keep the kids in virtual learning. But White does wonder when he’ll feel comfortable sending them back to the classroom.
“I don’t see in the near future it’s going to be a greater percentage of those going to do regular school, I think more parents are going to opt out and go virtual just with all the scares and things that are going to happen in the future,” White said.
Like White, Barrois says he wishes the district had chosen the safer option and had done so sooner.
“Rather than trying to prevent this from happening we would be building our resources and building on our experience with virtual learning and unfortunately we’re fighting instead of preparing,” Barrois said.
Some parents are comfortable and looking forward to sending their children back to school, but just didn’t want to speak on camera.
Jefferson parish teacher union leaders say a strike is still possible, but nothing yet has been decided.