Teachers, parents react to push for in-person learning in Colorado

Remote learning
Posted at 9:13 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 23:13:36-05

DENVER -- Some parents from across the Front Range reacted positively to Gov. Jared Polis' news conference Tuesday, in which he announced a roadmap for in-person learning starting next year.

“It would mean the world,” said Kelly Holdridge, a Fort Collins parent of three.

It's no secret many parents have been pushing to get their kids back in the classroom amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"They've been bouncing off the walls during class and you can only force your kids to sit in front of a computer so much, but they can’t function there. That’s not learning,” Holdridge said.

So parents hearing news that there's a bigger push from the state is huge.

“It does make me feel better. It makes me...— it reassures me that we are actually looking at the bigger picture,” Aurora parent Christina Buckley said.

And let's be clear, teachers want to be back too, but safely.

“First we need to create the dashboard. When is it gonna be safer for everybody to go back into school? We want to go back to school,” DPS teacher Judy Kelley told Denver7.

Kelley lost a student to the novel coronavirus in the spring, so it weighs heavy as schools look to return.

“I think we know we need to get the kids back in. For the elementary (kids), we need (to return them) for educational (purposes) but also social development. We know for older students they have mental health issues, but we need to have a matrix,” Kelley added.

That matrix is part of a number of things teachers are hoping for before returning to class.

“Educators need access to PPE, educators need access to COVID-19 testing, we need transparent sharing of data so that educators, students and families really know what is happening in regards to positivity (rates) in our school setting,” Colorado Education Association President Amie Baca-Oehlert said.

They also believe educators should be in Phase 2 of vaccinations as another safeguard; while parents believe returning would be huge for their kids' mental health.

“Dropping my son off today at his grandparents was tough. He’s not very tech savvy and he just kept looking at me crying, asked me not to leave him, he did not want to do online school. If he could just go to school, just the sheer joy I would see from him would be phenomenal,” Buckley said.

As they all hope Tuesday's first step becomes a giant leap back into the classroom.