Jackson parents speak out on virtual learning option for students

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson parents said they want answers about why the Jackson Public School District’s (JPS) virtual learning plan is only an option for students who are too young to get vaccinated.

District leaders announced on Tuesday that the virtual learning option would be for students in grades Pre-K through 6th. Parents were invited to take part, but some said it feels like their opinions did not matter.

“It kind of seems like their mind was already made up once we had the meeting last night,” said Keeshand Guice, who is a parent.

She continued, “I feel like it’s totally unfair that the parents of high schoolers don’t have the choice whether their kid is virtual or not. My child is a 10th grader, and I feel that I should have that choice also.”

“I’m upset that they should have made that decision for everybody, and I understand virtual is not for everybody, but at least give the parents that choice. I’m not trying to lose my child just to satisfy the superintendent, the governor,” said Debbie Staten, another JPS parent.

Staten is also a school bus driver. She said seeing dozens of children on her bus daily has her concerned that schools may be too packed to properly follow covid protocols. 

“How can you social distance when you have over 30 or 40 kids on a bus? It’s no social distancing on the bus, so I’m sure it’s no social distancing in the schools,” she said.

Guice said her 15-year-old daughter loves going to school, but she worries that her daughter may not be protected from the virus, even though she is vaccinated.

“She’s kind of worried. Every day, she comes home saying that it’s rumors or whatever that a different kid has COVID.”

The district hopes more parents will get their children vaccinated. Officials are looking to require teachers to either be fully vaccinated or get tested weekly.

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