ELearning for first four weeks is approved by school board


Asher Montgomery

Dr. Gary Tubb teaches a zoom class during eLearning in May of last school year. Superintendent Addison Davis announced that eLearning will be much different and more effective in the upcoming year than it was in the spring.

Story has been updated to reflect new school board decision of eLearning for one week

The school board voted Aug. 6, to provide only eLearning and virtual school options for the first four weeks of school due to concerns about the coronavirus. On Sep. 8, the school board will reconvene to discuss what to do from then on.

This decision comes after two sessions of debate and much controversy from community members. For the first hour of the meeting, parents, teachers, students and other members of the community were given a minute each to share their thoughts and opinions with the school board.

After the state threatened to remove funding if school districts did not provide the option to go back in person however, the school board reduced the amount of e-learning only time to one week, meaning an option will be given to go back in person starting Aug. 31

There were many arguments for both sides about whether to give a choice or not. Hillsborough students also provided a mixture of different opinions on what should have been done.

Rising senior Nicholas Bowling does not believe brick and mortar should be an option until it is safe enough to return.

“How are we going to be sure everyone is going to follow the rules?” he asked. “I just don’t trust the district to properly fund schools and to keep them safe.”

Rising sophomore Brooke Smith agrees. She contracted the coronavirus around mid-July along with her parents.

 “I know a lot of people struggled with online [school] in the spring like I did but… I’m not willing to risk my health again by going in real life,” Smith said. “I don’t want to see my friends get sick and possibly die because they went back to school.”

On the other hand, some students wanted the option to go back.

Rising senior Heavenlee Padilla noted that there are a lot of students who need teachers for support and inspiration to keep going. She also mentioned the issue of students who do not have access to Wi-Fi, which is essential to eLearning.

Rising senior Alexcis Johnson has similar views to Padilla. She is concerned about working parents who will be unable to watch their kids during the day when eLearning is required, and the mental health of students. Along with that, she values the personal freedom to choose.

 “A choice should be given because everyone is responsible for their own health and deserves the freedom to choose what is best for them instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” she said.

Superintendent Addison Davis suggested that he and his team would be able to resolve some of these issues: making sure counselors are available, providing internet services and devices to those in need, and getting food to students on free and reduced lunch.

“My team will work to make sure eLearning is dynamic and that our staff provides wrap-around services for our children,” Davis said in a public statement after the decision.