Parents considering school options amid pandemic

Parents are considering homeschooling while under the pandemic COVID-19 restrictions because of safety concerns, the allowance of travel, and reduced teacher-to-child ratios while private schools gear-up for safety.

Pinehurst resident Anita Berg said that the numbers “are too high and are not trending in the right direction.” She is reviewing the Moore County Schools virtual learning program and a homeschooling program called Master Books for her daughter. But she said that she wants her daughter to return to public schools when it is safe for socialization and sports.

Berg has an Associate Degree and said she is confident in instructing all subjects except “North Carolina’s Common Core Math.”

Pinehurst military spouse Laiz Eberly has four school-age children and is considering the Good and Beautiful homeschool curriculum and for socialization is considering the Moore Christian Homeschooling group. Eberly said that homeschooling would allow more time for travel because she can teach one day a week with everything online.

“I don’t think kids are at that big of a risk and need to follow that social distancing,” Eberly said.

Eberly’s oldest son is 11 and played soccer and baseball at school.

“It will be boring,” Jacob Eberly said about the possibility of being homeschooled. “No friends or sports at recess.”

Pinehurst Real Estate Agent Julie McNicol is immune-compromised and has two children. She said that safety is “paramount,” and her biggest concern is mask-indifference.

“How can we make sure that attitude isn’t carried into schools by both students and staff?” McNicol said.

With a flexible work schedule, McNicol said that she believes she can reduce the adult-to-child ratio for those who must send their children to school, so they can work.

Some private schools in Moore County are opening for on-site classes.

Sandhills Classical Christian School will be opening Thursday, Aug. 6 and will be practicing an array of protocols and procedures designed to keep students and staff safe including a distancing of desks and minimizing intermingling of students. Masks will be allowed and strongly encouraged. Students and staff will be checked at the door for temperature and symptoms.

Several classes are full for the coming year but there remains room in several others.

The O’Neal School released safety guidelines and plans to include 6-feet of distancing, masks, no indoor visitors and daily screenings. It will have a space to isolate symptomatic students and will enhance hygiene.

The school will maintain its low student-to-teacher ratio.

Hand sanitizer stations and touchless hand dryers will be in place. Professional electrostatic sprayers will streamline cleaning, and the system will reach hidden areas. The O’Neal School will also implement portable UV disinfection lamps.

Feature photo: Jacob, Benjamin, mother Laiz, Oliver and Bella Eberly on July 14, 2020 at Reservoir Park by Stephanie Sellers.

Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.

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