Parents in the Huntsville City School System now have until Friday to decide if their students will return to the traditional classroom setting or Huntsville Virtual Academy (HVA) next semester. This is after the district extended the deadline from the previous one, which expired on Wednesday.
Both families WAAY 31 spoke with are currently enrolled in HVA, and they said they want their kids to be back in the traditional learning environment, but because the number of positive coronavirus cases in the school system continues to rise, they are continuing with HVA.
“The right place for her is in person and if there weren’t health concerns, then she’d be in person 100%," said Kim Xu, mother of a first grader at HVA.
Xu was originally optimistic her daughter would return to Academy for Science and Foreign Language.
“I was fully like, ‘well, things have been OK. Maybe it will be okay, maybe we can do this,'” she said.
As the deadline to make the switch begins to approach and the number of positive cases continues to rise, it's not seeming as likely.
“Despite my desperate desire for her to not have me as a co-teacher anymore, the only decision I can think of for our family is to stay virtual," said Xu.
Kaitlyn Bertsch hoped to send her 6th grader, Owynn Bertsch, back to Academy for Academics and Arts, but Kaitlyn is being deployed in December, and Owynn's grandmother will become the primary caregiver.
“The threat of COVID and the increasing numbers, definitely does not make the traditional in-person school the best option when her grandparents are going to be watching her," said Kaitlyn. "They fall into a higher risk category so Owynn doesn’t need to be bringing that home from school.”
Kaitlyn's mother, Kathi Bertsch, wishes the decision to either stay with the virtual academy or not, didn't have to be made so soon.
“The angst we feel in having to make a decision so far in advance as things are changing so much with the current COVID cases," said Kathi. “You feel like you’re having to sign a blank check, basically, very early.”
Everyone who would like to enroll a student in HVA or continue enrollment for the second semester must complete the spring 2021 registration form.