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Fayette County parents protest virtual learning decision outside board meeting

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 5:47 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A group of parents and students were protesting outside of central office ahead of the Fayette County School Board meeting.

The rally was held by the group Let Them Learn, a group made up of parents, teachers, and even students who are fed up with virtual learning and pushing for an in-person option.

The protest follows the board’s decision last Thursday to keep students in virtual learning for the rest of the semester. They had initially planned to bring students back in November, but the board said the surge in COVID-19 cases and the limited time swayed their decision.

“It is actually really hard to learn over a screen," third grader Ella Jane said. "I have WiFi issues, my tests aren’t taken correctly, and I’m not learning very well.”

The student even wrote a letter to the Fayette County school board after hearing results from a district-wide survey where nearly 80 percent of families either chose a hybrid option or did not respond at all.

While protesters are using that 80 percent in their message to the board, in Monday night’s meeting, members said the results are more complicated than in-person versus virtual learning.

“It’s not just ‘go back on Nov. 2, this is what we want’," FCPS spokesperson Lisa Deffendall said in the meeting. "It was ‘we want to go back but maybe not until January’ or ‘I want to go back but only if we can keep my kid’s teacher’, this was less of a mandate than some people would wish.”

While the voices amplified Monday night were unanimously in favor of getting back in the classroom, school board members said it’s quieter voices of concern that actually flood their email.

“I appreciate the audience saying ‘listen’, but the reality is in my inbox, they’re the minority," chairwoman Stephanie Spires said. "The majority of families wrote about these concerns and were very in line with this.”

Fayette County is just one of 12 districts that will stay with virtual learning. That also includes Jefferson County.

The rest, 159 of them, have students back in the classroom, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Clark, Whitley and Owsley Counties are also learning from home.

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