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'The Fear Is Worse Than This Pandemic': Highland Park Parents Upset With Schools' Handling Of COVID-19

HIGHLAND PARK, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - It's been around two months since the unusual new school year began, and opinions are coming in hot.

Some North Texas parents say, whether school is in-person or virtual, the students are losing.

"The fear is worse than this pandemic," said Highland Park mom Amanda Nobles.

She hasn't liked what she's seen and heard from her children and their classmates at Highland Park ISD.

"Our children are sitting behind fogged-out Plexiglass. There are literally blinders on the sides," she said.

Highland Park ISD students
Highland Park ISD students (credit: Amanda Nobles)

So she and a group of fellow parents formed Park Cities Parents Unite to protest the district's handling of COVID-19.

"These kids are isolated, and that's where I just turn into mama bear. I'm not okay with this. I see the struggle. I see these kids, the sadness that they have," said Aimee Urista, also a member of Park Cities Parents Unite.

Hundreds of students at a time, they say, are forced into quarantine for two weeks due to potential exposure.

"It was a mass exodus of children, of healthy children, forfeiting education, giving up on their school," said Kim Mauser. "They're tired. They're overwrought. They're unprepared, and they're not getting the education that we moved here for."

Highland Park ISD students
Highland Park ISD students (credit: Highland Park ISD)

Now, 20 North Texas school districts are abandoning virtual learning altogether, saying it's unsustainable for long-term academic success.

"We were having a really difficult time getting them to be engaged to the level that we wanted them to be engaged," said Waxahachie ISD Superintendent Bonny Cain.

Park Cities Parents Unite said in-person learning is ineffective if the students and teachers are isolated.

"Our teachers are saying that they are restricted from actually teaching the kids because they're busy wiping down desks with chemicals that we don't ever know what they're in," said Nobles "They don't even have time to teach our children."

They want the district to launch a medical advisory board, to oversee the protocols and create a plan to return to normal.

A school district spokesperson said the district believes it's taking the responsible approach by following CDC guidance.

It also said, "While there is always room for honest and open dialogue about the best approach, we believe the steps taken are in the best interest of the community at large, particularly since the number of cases in Dallas County is increasing."


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