DeSoto County Schools parent starts petition to improve virtual learning

Updated: Sep. 7, 2020 at 7:11 PM CDT
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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - DeSoto County Schools is nearly halfway through the first quarter of the year. Since the start of the school year, parents have been split on their thoughts on the district’s virtual learning model.

Thousands of DeSoto County Schools parents will have decisions to make after the first nine weeks of school— to keep their children home with virtual learning or send them to in-person classes. The district is letting families switch their preference if they want.

“It does hurt me that I may have to force my child back [to in-person classes],” DCS parent Jarvis Jefferies said. “I’m not the only parent who has admitted to that.”

“It feels like we’re being punished for choosing [the virtual option],” DCS parent Christian said.

Some parents said they are thinking about sending their children back to in-person classes after being disappointed with the virtual learning system, Schoology, used by DCS. Their main concern is the lack of live instruction.

“I feel like I’m failing my kids because they don’t have this live teaching,” Christian said. “They have to figure this out.”

“A lot of people did think it would be some live teaching,” Jefferies said. “I’m thinking Zoom [could be used] or something like that.”

In DCS’s virtual learning expectation and requirements list, it says teaching can be done both live or asynchronously. The district said asynchronous learning is helpful to families who want to make their own schedule.

Many parents feel they’re left as teachers. Jefferies started a petition to urge the district to move away from the current Schoology learning site to a more interactive platform.

“We’re not blaming the teachers. We understand they’re overwhelmed,” Jefferies said. “The system itself is what we’re upset about. Schoology just isn’t working.”

In response to the possibility of thousands of current virtual learning students going back to in-person classes after the first nine weeks and health guidelines in place, the district said, “There will be more students in classes as students return to the traditional setting, however, there are no plans to move to a hybrid schedule.”

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