(WJHL) — Two surveys were sent out by the Tennessee Department of Education: the first asked parents and teachers if summer school or extending the school year would be a good option in response to COVID-19, but it was quickly taken down and a new one was sent out.
A survey by the Tennessee Department of Education was sent to teachers and parents regarding the Federal CARES Act.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is federal legislation to provide $2 trillion in emergency relief in response to COVID-19 and includes $30.75 billion for education stabilization funding.
The survey asked both parents and teachers how they think that money should be spent.
News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant spoke with both parents and teachers in our region who have taken the survey.
“The first one, probably the thing that caused the most anxiety among families and staff reached out to me over the weekend, was the discussion about extended days for next year and summer school mandatory as we try to figure out how to make up the lost time,” said Unicoi County Director of Schools John English.
Many are saying those are not good ideas.
“They still need that break that they look forward to,” said Beckey Simerly, a second-grade teacher at Happy Valley Elementary School. “They need a strict schedule. They’re used to being out in the summer, they’re used to being able to go to the park to play with their friends, to go to the pool. Until this pandemic passes, we won’t be able to do any of that.”
The Department of Education states that the questions are intended to help understand local school needs and potential investments.
As a mom and fourth-grade teacher at Chuckey Elementary, Sherry Ripley, is concerned about what an extended school year or summer school would mean for her son’s senior year.
“He starts college. How is he going to go back in the summer and make that up? He’s got things planned based on graduation and moving forward,” Ripley said.
“If it were to apply to me it might be difficult because I was planning on taking some summer classes before I start my first semester at ETSU,” said her son, Will Ripley.
The new survey asks questions like, how can they improve distance learning?
“I know for me personally I have taught most of the materials that was required for me for the school year because TCAPS come up in April,” Sherry Ripley said.
English said canceling standardize testing may be the best option for the coming year instead of summer school.
“It just felt it was a little too early to be throwing that out because we still don’t know what next week looks like, let alone next month or next year,” said English.
The deadline to fill out the survey, which you can find here, is Monday, April 13.
Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.