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Some parents grateful to still have a traditional school option this fall

11 school districts in north Alabama announced they would stick with their original back to school plan, despite some school systems like those in Madison County starting with an all virtual beginning to the year.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 10:42 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 9:52 AM

On a warm, summer night in Athens, the East Coast Sox club baseball took to the diamond at Athens Elementary School for a little practice. 

The team is coming off of its win at the Arkansas Global Sports World Series tournament hosted by the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA). 

Parents in Limestone County are deciding whether to send their children to the virtual academy or back to a traditional classroom this fall. Parents in Limestone County are deciding whether to send their children to the virtual academy or back to a traditional classroom this fall.

As the players worked on their base running drills, assistant coach Jeremy Eslick surveyed the ball field. Among the players is his seventh-grade son, Charlie Ray. Eslick said his son has been much happier since he has been able to play ball these past two months.

"I think he's even happier now because it gave him something to look forward to. He actually likes going to school," Eslick said.

He and the other parents around the diamond said they were relieved to hear that 11 school districts, including Limestone County School and Athens City Schools, would keep their back to school plans, which give parents the choice of whether they want their kids in a classroom.

"I know that they've done everything that they possibly can because nobody wants to see a child possibly lose their life to something like this or be sick or anything like that," Eslick said.

School administrators, like Anthony Hilliard, the vice-chair of the Limestone County School Board, said they heard from a lot of working parents who were worried about losing the option to send their kids to school.

"A lot of people work and they can't be home to do the online classes with their students, with the child. And I think that's going to handicap some students in some ways because there's no one there to reinforce the content, besides the virtual teacher," Hilliard said.

Over at Athens City Schools, Interim-Superintendent Beth Patton said only about 35 percent of all of their families chose the virtual route. A number of parents in her school district had similar concerns to those with Limestone County Schools.

"We have parents who are really struggling finding someone to keep children during the day and to be able to provide that education during the day while they are at work. That seems to be the major concern that we're hearing," Patton said.

Both she and Hilliard said if the numbers in Limestone County and elsewhere continue to increase, they will re-evaluate if necessary.

For now, parents like Eslick said they believe their school systems are doing the best they can to give their children a homerun semester. 

"I just hope people show people respect and love and understanding because it is a difficult situation for many people," Eslick said.

Parents of students at Athens City Schools have until Friday afternoon to decide if they want their children in the virtual academy.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 101496

Reported Deaths: 1821
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13578262
Mobile10747221
Montgomery6999153
Madison555035
Tuscaloosa435080
Unassigned406169
Baldwin374429
Shelby338137
Marshall320738
Lee273647
Morgan244320
Etowah220934
DeKalb186614
Calhoun185319
Elmore178339
Walker156265
Houston145913
Limestone139313
Russell13912
St. Clair138120
Dallas134825
Franklin131022
Cullman124612
Colbert123218
Lauderdale121320
Autauga119622
Escambia109417
Talladega108714
Jackson10794
Tallapoosa87879
Dale85629
Chambers84838
Blount8355
Chilton8309
Clarke82710
Coffee7816
Butler77536
Covington75521
Pike7167
Marion59226
Barbour5866
Lowndes57524
Marengo57217
Bullock49311
Hale48726
Bibb4575
Winston45611
Washington45313
Perry4484
Wilcox44510
Monroe4256
Pickens41310
Randolph40411
Conecuh39710
Sumter37019
Lawrence3603
Macon34414
Crenshaw3338
Choctaw29012
Cherokee2888
Clay2785
Geneva2692
Henry2683
Greene25511
Lamar2372
Fayette2275
Cleburne1301
Coosa1063
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128511

Reported Deaths: 1313
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby23943319
Davidson21280221
Rutherford683455
Hamilton654756
Knox494641
Williamson370225
Sumner353873
Unassigned31513
Out of TN302419
Wilson241123
Bradley206615
Montgomery204115
Sevier19479
Putnam187820
Robertson159621
Trousdale15836
Hamblen145615
Washington13822
Blount137315
Maury13299
Madison124423
Tipton123312
Sullivan110615
Hardeman97518
Bedford95511
Macon87313
Lake7980
Loudon7793
Gibson7659
Dickson7433
Bledsoe7272
Fayette7258
Anderson7227
Dyer6969
Henderson6362
Cheatham6229
Obion6194
Jefferson6164
Lawrence6137
Carter5936
Coffee5843
McMinn58320
Warren5674
Rhea5662
Greene5529
Haywood5477
Lauderdale5359
Weakley5295
Hawkins52010
Cocke5145
Roane5102
Cumberland5027
Hardin4938
Monroe46910
Smith4674
Giles40213
McNairy4006
DeKalb3791
Franklin3594
Carroll3526
Lincoln3251
Marshall3254
Johnson3180
White3155
Henry3071
Claiborne2960
Hickman2901
Crockett2855
Campbell2611
Chester2402
Marion2395
Overton2351
Wayne2312
Decatur2263
Polk2245
Grainger2120
Unicoi1800
Benton1731
Union1660
Cannon1590
Jackson1371
Morgan1331
Humphreys1313
Scott1302
Grundy1242
Sequatchie1151
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