Central Arkansas schools back in-person Tuesday, parent feelings mixed | KLRT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Students in Central Arkansas will shuffle back to class Tuesday in person after two weeks of off and on virtual days.

Little Rock School District announced Monday all campuses in the district would be open for in-person learning starting Tuesday, January 18.

LRSD moved some of its campuses virtual as early as January 6 after an increase in covid-19 cases in staff and students.

“They haven’t been home since Christmas break other than that one day,” LRSD parent Ashley Simmons said.

Simmons is a parent to two in the district. Her kids will return in-person Tuesday but Simmons says she still has reservations.

“I’m kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place with emotions,” Simmons said. “It’s a safety fear of mine for the community more so than my family at this point because we’re all vaccinated and boosted.”

Monday, The Arkansas Department of Health reported more than 93,000 active cases in the state.

Simmons says while safety is a concern so is her children’s mental health.

“It’s been a very long few weeks of them trying to cope,” Simmons said.

Simmons has two children with disabilities. She says virtual learning has taken a toll on her oldest.

“He has been really struggling with the emotional aspect, the emotional regulation of being disappointed that we’re not back in school,” said Simmons.

Across town in the Pulaski County Special School District classes have been off and on for Kevin Young’s kids.

“They’ve has like one sub watching like three classes due to staffing shortages,” Young said.

He says virtual learning may be the best option for now.

“Ultimately if they don’t have the staff or feel the exposure is too great we would rather have them home anyway,” Young said.

Young says his kids benefit from the social aspect of school but also wants to keep them safe.

Both parents say they are happy with the precautions taken at the school to prevent the spread. They say the measures make them feel better about sending their students to school.

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