BOSTON (CBS) — With an increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases nationally, some parents in Massachusetts are calling for the Department of Early and Secondary Education to tell local school districts to, once again, allow a remote learning option.
The parents spoke out during a virtual news conference held by the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance.
“This literally scares the hell out of me. I’m not ready to send my kid, basically,” said Priyanka Rajoria, a parent of two kids from Quincy. “I’m not ready yet to send my kids completely defenseless when they have no vaccine against this virus.”
Rajoria said both of her kids are too young to get vaccinated and the family lives with her elderly parents.
“I hope somebody pays heed to us and I already lost a few family members because of the covid so I am really scared about my son this time,” Rajoria said.
Rehoboth mother, Kate Cherepowich, also voiced concerns during the press conference. She said she is choosing to home-school her 8-year-old son because of the low vaccination rate in her area.
“Our population is about 49 percent vaccinated which is not high enough for me and we don’t have enough of the safety measures in place that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends,” she said.
The Department of Early and Secondary Education or DESE says that remote learning continues to be an option for children who have health issues and have a letter from a doctor.
Seven school districts have also applied for and set up their own virtual schools for this year. Those districts are Attleboro, Brockton, Chelsea, Peabody, Pittsfield, Springfield and Westfield.
Asked about remote learning on Monday, Governor Charlie Baker said in-person learning should be the priority.
“One thing we all learned last year was that remote learning for many, many kids here in the Commonwealth did not work and there’s lot of evidence that in person learning does,” Baker said.
Some parents say they plan to attend Tuesday’s Board of Elementary and Secondary meeting to continue pushing for remote learning.