Central Valley parents, students frustrated with district’s reopening plan

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — A choice by the Central Valley School Board is frustrating some students and parents. On February 1st, middle and high schoolers will go to campus once a week. Families say this isn’t enough to benefit their children.

Students would only spend about four hours in a classroom chair and finish the rest of the day at home. This approved plan prompted parents and students to protest outside Central Valley High School on Tuesday. They called it “March for More.”

“We have felt there has been very little communication,” said Kristin Williams, a parent within CVSD. “Definitely no opportunity for parents to have their voices heard.”

People carried signs, demanding the district give the students more than four hours in class. The plan is to go to two days a week, but not until March. At the moment, it’s not finalized.

“We don’t understand putting the teachers and the students and the families through two more different models,” Williams said.

At the beginning of the year, CVSD families could choose between four options. With this transition, parents said they now can only choose full virtual learning or the modified hybrid model.

In this model, students will go to campus once a week. They’ll go to three classes, grab lunch, then go home and learn there the rest of the day. The other four days, they’re learning at home.

Parents at the rally compare CVSD’s plan to other districts with a different model.

“The model that Mead has demonstrated to be safe is a two-day in person, two day of working on your own and one day Zoom mode, which we think our district can certainly handle and our teens need,” William said.

PHOTOS: Parents ‘March for More’ in response to CVSD’s reopening plan

Children who didn’t attend the rally have been expressing their thoughts to their parents.

“They [children] don’t see the point in going to school for four hours and then locked into the Zoom classes,” said Jolene Fisher, who has two students in the CVSD. “They both said they don’t want to do that and it’s sad because they love school.”

Students 4 News Now spoke with at the rally said it’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t make learning at home any easier.

“I’ve been struggling with keeping my grades and just actually learning the content of any subject I’m learning, which is really hard,” said Autumn Agnew, a sophomore at Central Valley High. “It just gives me stress and anxiety and then I get sad because I’m making my parents upset because I don’t have good grades and it’s overall just been awful.”

She also touched on a point we’ve heard a lot about this year: mental health.

“Are we thinking about like our kids and out friends’ mental health because I feel like that’s definitely the biggest thing,” Agnew explained.

She believes going back to school once a week will help with anxiety and depression, but two days would be better.

According to a presentation in the School Board agenda, the reason for this approach is to cautiously move forward, even if there could be high community infection rates. Also, smaller class sizes will reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Regardless, parents are having a hard time wrapping their heads around this move.

“Decisions have been made that feel like our kids’ best interests aren’t in mind, like it’s more fear based,” Williams explained.

RELATED: Central Valley middle, high school students heading back to class in February