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JCPS parents fighting for in-person learning

"Let Them Learn" Facebook group wants the option for JCPS students to return to school; other districts already give students that option.

Tuesday night the JCPS school board is meeting to discuss plans for a return to school in person.

Students will not return at the end of October as Superintendent Dr. Pollio had tentatively planned.

A group of more than 800 people has formed on Facebook called Let Them Learn. It’s a place where parents, students, teachers, and some others have come together to insist JCPS have the option of in person learning.

Alyson Cleyman is a part of the group. She is a single mom with two daughters in JCPS – one with special needs. Cleyman is frustrated with NTI. Her kids have to be at home, which means she does too and can’t work.

“I stumbled upon Let Them Learn when I was looking at different statics online about NTI and whatnot,” Cleyman said.

A lot of the parents in the group have similar complaints. They want to be able to have the choice of whether their kids go back to school or not.

“At least do like a hybrid option where parents have a decision, so do teachers,” Cleyman said.

Parents in other districts in the area have a choice, like Marion County Public Schools.

Both Marion and Jefferson are in the red zone when it comes to active COVID cases – meaning the incidence rate is more than 25 per 100,000 people in the county.

The JCPS board members have said that is just too high.

“The idea was below 10 for 100,000 that puts us in the yellow category, that’s what our board members have been clear about,” Dr. Pollio said in a press conference on Friday.

Marion County has been taking those incidence numbers seriously, but also looks at other factors. School leaders are in contact with regional health departments daily.

“We’re also very closely tracking the number of school age children specifically who have tested positive,” Marion County Public Schools Director of Communication Jason Simpson said. “We’re keeping very close tabs on how many of our staff members are affected as well.”

Since students returned to in person learning in September, only two of the districts’ about 3,200 students have tested positive.

JCPS doesn’t have a metric like that to work from, since students have been remote since school began.

The Let Them Learn group is planning on closely watching the school board meeting Tuesday Night before they make any plans for the next steps.

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