Parents planning rally during LR5 board meeting, asking for in-person learning all week

D5 Parents March

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Parents in Lexington-Richland School District Five have organized a march at the same time as a district board meeting, Monday, Sept. 14. Some parents are asking that school officials offer a face-to-face option, five days a week.

School District Five began the new school year Tuesday, Sept. 8, offering all virtual learning or a hybrid model with two days of in-person instruction. The other three days are online.

The district had initially planned to provide an option for face-to-face learning five days a week, but later said COVID-19 data did not support that model.

One parent, Jennifer Valek, says she made a Facebook post expressing the need for students to be in school all week, and says after getting tons of feedback she and another parent created a Facebook page organizing Monday’s parents march. That page now has more than 1,000 members.

Valek says she’s also heard from parents who disagree, pointing to the outbreaks on college campuses and the death of a Richland Two teacher last week. Still, she believes in-person instruction for the whole week is possible.

“It’s being successfully done. We just need a district to stand up in our area and lead the way for the rest of our state and show that we can do this,” said Valek.

The mother of two still acknowledges the seriousness of the pandemic, saying, “This is real. COVID’s real, but they have the option for virtual and I feel like those of us that are wanting to go back face-to-face had our option taking away. We have amazing teachers and admin in our district but they’re trained to teach face-to-face. So, I don’t think we’re using them to the best of their ability in front of a computer screen.”

Valek is also concerned about how long students are being asked to sit in front of a computer screen.

She also doesn’t think it’s fair that some students were required to take standardized MAP testing in the first week of school when they had not been in the classroom since March.

Monday’s parents march will be at the same time and location of the in-person District Five board meeting. That’s 5 p.m. at Irmo High School.

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