Students, parents, school officials share thoughts on Pulaski County Schools going virtual Friday due to staffing shortages

New River Valley News

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Pulaski County School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers told WFXR News their schools are no longer able to operate on a normal in-person schedule, adding that this year is two to three times harder on everyone.

“Teachers are absolutely exhausted and we have been asking so much of them this year,” said Siers. “It is rare that a teacher will make it through an entire week and have their planning period every day.”

After assessing how many teachers and bus drivers are absent due to COVID-19, Siers says the Pulaski County School Board concluded that Friday, Sept. 24 will be dedicated to virtual learning.

According to Siers, all Pulaski County students received their work assignments for the day either electronically or in a packet. Then, teachers will be on stand-by from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday to answer any questions from students who are learning at home.

Lynn Cregger is the mother of two children in Pulaski County Public Schools — one at the middle school and one at the high school — and she says these virtual days are both good and bad.

“I love them being in class. I think that is the best opportunity, especially with younger kids,” said Cregger. “But I think the middle schoolers and the high schoolers have learned enough about going and training themselves.”

However, not everyone feels the same. A student named Cameron Cooper says he doesn’t like virtual days.

“It is not really in class. It’s like you have to learn stuff on your own, and it takes time from the students and the teachers,” said Cooper. “And then we come back for the next week, and we don’t learn anything.”

On top of trying to keep kids in school, Siers says the school board members are trying to be as creative as possible. For example, they are hiring full-time substitute positions, public relations specialists, and transportation management to help recruit more bus drivers.

In addition, Siers says he wants community members to know that they are doing their best and they are working tirelessly to find a solution that works for everyone. According to the superintendent, the biggest concern is that COVID-19 cases continue to rise, causing issues inside many school districts across the nation.

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