Hundreds sign petition urging Derry Township School District to return to in-person learning

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DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — More than 650 people have signed a petition urging Derry Township School District leaders to allow students to return to in-person learning.

Many parents are expressing a concern for their kids’ decline in motivation, as well as hope following the decline in COVID-19 cases — they say both of which are reasons to return to traditional learning.

“It’s time. It’s just time,” said Ericka Schmidt, a parent of two students in the district.

They believe it’s time to help learners who find virtual learning virtually impossible.

“It’s a social thing. They’re having trouble learning. They’re not really retaining,” Schmidt said.

“I’ve heard so many teachers say that they got into education to inspire and motivate and to encourage that one kid, and I just wonder how many of those we’re missing,” said Angela Weader, who has three boys in the district.

No one from DTSD was available for comment on Tuesday evening, but a representative pointed to a FAQ on the website, which shows that leaders are planning for an in-person, at capacity 2021-2022 school year with an option for virtual learning.

While that may be something to look forward to, these parents want the district to at least try to get students back sooner.

“You’re going to be doing these steps in the fall, that you’re gonna want to do now. So, we can hit the ground running in the fall without any of the snafus that you might find right now,” Schmidt said.

“I think it’s our time right now to start leading the way and the path forward,” Weader said.

The district’s website also indicates that it cannot currently accommodate social distancing and “effectively doubling the student population in our buildings with a return to full-time in-person instruction poses too great of a risk at this time.”

Officials also noted that they’ve had three building closures due to COVID-19 since they allowed some in-person learning in January.

Still, Trojans both ancient and modern are known for their ingenuity.

“If that means that we have to be more creative, then they have people behind them to support that out-of-the-box thinking,” Weader said.

“They have to get into that rhythm again,” Schmidt said.

The district plans to address students who are falling behind through a “catch-up” presentation that will be held at its board meeting on March 8.

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