BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET)— As local coronavirus case numbers continue to climb, Kern High School District and the Bakersfield City School District are shutting down in-person classes to protect teachers and families from COVID-19. This change leaves some parents wondering whether their children will get a quality education outside the classroom. Not every parent thinks this is the best way to keep students safe.
“It’s such a worry,” said Nicole Towery, a local parent. “Even as an adult it’s hard to learn math over a computer. Or with my kindergartener trying to learn how to grip a pencil the right way. And unless they have somebody with them, I’m just worried they’re going to fall further behind.”
And that’s not her only concern about her children staying home from school.
“Like most parents, we depend on school systems for daycare. And without them being in school I can’t go to work,” she said.
Meanwhile, public health experts say the first doses of COVID-19 could come this month. The state decides who gets them first, and there are no plans yet to vaccinate teachers.
“Healthcare providers are of course the top of our list, but we haven’t gotten any further than that,” said Matt Constantine, the Director of the Kern Public Health Department. “So we’re kind of anxious to see what they say.”
Experts say your child is more likely to catch COVID-19 at home rather than in a classroom, but this may be the best way to stop students from bringing the virus home.
“All of our schools have done a fantastic job. They’re more protective for our kids than even the state is asking them to be,” said Constantine. “Some of them are saying okay let’s pause for a few minutes, a few days, a few weeks and reassess. And that’s exactly what you want to do. They’re protecting your children and they’re watching it carefully.”
Doctors say the public may not get coronavirus vaccines until next April or May. Local school districts have not announced a date they plan to send students back to school, but public health experts hope incoming vaccines could accelerate that process.