HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Huntsville City high schools will be reopening doors to students this week. For Erin Batrich, and so many other parents, that means her daughter, Maddie, is starting her freshman year of high school during a pandemic.
Batrich said this was a tough choice to make, but ultimately it came down to what was best for her daughter.
“It came to a point of making a decision between her mental health and potentially risking her physical health,” she said. “And honestly, she needs this, she needs to be back in the classroom, she likes to interact with her teachers.”
Going into her daughter’s first day on Monday, Batrich still has concerns about a lot things, like how much social distancing will actually be possible in classrooms.
“Truthfully they can only do so much, if there are enough kids returned to school the room is only so big, you can only provide so much social distancing,” Batrich said.
A Huntsville City Schools spokesperson said 64% of students are heading back to school, but only about half those kids will be in the building at any one time. HCS is returning on an A/B schedule with students divided into two groups.
Batrich is also worried about her daughter walking into a brand new environment since there wasn’t any freshman orientation this year.
“We missed out on freshman orientation, we have not been inside the school other than to go to the gym or go to cheer practice, so there is some anxiety there," she said.
Batrich said school leaders did do their best to help students out by posting some video tours of the school online, though.
Amid her concerns for her student, Batrich is also worried about the teachers.
“I’m worried, are we going to lose really great teachers because there’s so much being asked of them?” she said.
Especially with some students heading back and others staying virtual, Batrich said she’s worried about teachers being able to handle both forms of teaching.
“It’s a lot on an instructor or teacher to ask them to facilitate that same sort of engagement in a virtual environment and now you’re asking them to do it, not only with some students there in person, but other students at the same time virtual," Batrich said.
She said she knows teachers will try their best and that the community needs to rally around them in anyway they need.