HORN LAKE, Miss — Some parents and students are feeling uneasy after going to a meet the teacher gathering Monday night at Horn Lake Intermediate School.
They said DeSoto County Schools should relook at their back-to-school plan because the decision to go back to school full-time, without a mask requirement, is risky. Lekista Flurry will be sending her eight-year-old boy to Horn Lake Intermediate School on Thursday but she doesn't want to.
"Uneasy, I feel very uneasy about it," she said. "I still feel school is unsafe for them because of the pandemic."
About two weeks ago, DeSoto County Schools announced the district is moving to in-class learning. The District's Superintendent, Cory Uselton, said masks are not required and students will be in class for a full school day.
"Social distance will be followed as much as possible depending on the size of the classroom and depending on the number of students in a classroom," he said.
Eden Flurry, Lekista's son said that when he went to meet his third-grade teacher Monday night, he was nervous about being coughed on during class.
"I saw the chairs and they were like just super close together," Eden said.
But Uselton said teachers are trying to do what they can with the space they have. He said schools weren't built with a pandemic in mind.
"Schools are built with efficacy in mind, so classrooms are not huge," he said.
Lekista said if parents can choose if their kids wear a mask, then parents should also have a virtual learning option.
"From my personal standpoint, I feel like yeah, they are putting not only the children at risk, but they are putting the parents and grandparents who take care of these children at risk," Lekista said.
The Mississippi Department of Health encourages a 3-foot distance between students and Uselton said those guidelines will be followed as much as possible.
"The reality is that they are telling us they are going to socially distance our children and keep them apart as best as they can, but it's impossible, it's impossible. especially if you have 20 or more children in a class," Lekista said.
Uselton said he doesn't know the ratio between the number of students per classroom space, but he said grade levels up to the fourth grade will have a max of 27 kids.
"Unfortunately in the world, we live in we know there will be COVID cases and we are prepared for when those COVID cases happen," Uselton said.
But being prepared for the worse isn't enough for all parents.
“It’s our babies," She said. "Like this is our future you know and like, why would you want them sick?"