Many parents in Sarasota & Manatee Counties want to send their kids back to campus for classes

Updated: Jul. 28, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A large percentage of parents in both Manatee and Sarasota Counties indicated that they want their children go back to brick and mortar school next month.

A breakdown provided by the Sarasota County School District shows a little more than half of parents in the district (24,355) gave responses:

  • 67% of parents picked option 1 to have their child return to school in person.
  • 26% of parents picked option 2 for their child to be enrolled full-time remotely at his/her school.
  • 7% of parents picked option 3 to enroll their child in Sarasota Virtual School.

District representatives say they have approximately 43,900 students in Sarasota County.

School is slated to begin in Sarasota County on Monday, August 31.

Students and staff will be required to wear masks on school grounds.

In Manatee County a school by school breakdown was provided to ABC 7 by the school district:

Manatee County School District statistics are out after parents decide on three different...
Manatee County School District statistics are out after parents decide on three different options for back to school.(manatee co school district)
Parents in Manatee County decide how they want their children to go back to school.
Parents in Manatee County decide how they want their children to go back to school.(Manatee County School District)

Last week the Manatee County School district released a video showing parents what the school year might look like during the pandemic ahead of their decisions.

“You’re making the best decision you can for your own family. So, you know, what all your friends are doing, doesn’t mean it’s right for you,” said Manatee County mother Narissa Smith.

Manatee County mother Narissa Smith says her and her husband decided to have her youngest children do e-learning and her tenth grader do the hybrid option.

"Lets just see how it goes. You know some of the questions can't be answered until the kids are in school that's kind of why I'm just like lets just wait and see what rolls out after that," said Smith.

Other parents felt the hybrid option was a better fit for their family. That was the case for Manatee County mother Shyla Puelston and her five children. She has two children in high school, one in middle school and two in elementary. They all have plans to move forward with two days in school and three days e-learning for the 2020-2021 school year.

"If the schools do end up closing, and shutting down again, we'll kind of already have that consistency at the house with the kids and with what they're doing at home if they have to go five days a week," said Puelston.

While other parents on the Suncoast say their children would benefit best from on campus classes.

“First off they need the socialization. My youngest, it was really hard at the end of last year to get him to do e-learning,” said Manatee County mother, Shannon Van Der Kooy.

“It’s important for them to go to school and learn everything that they can so not only the social aspect of meeting friends and learning together but get them back academically of where they need to be and where they’re going,” said Sarasota County mother, Eileen Fehr.

The 2020-2021 school year in Manatee County is scheduled to begin on Monday, August 17.

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