Parents protest McKinney ISD’s plan to start school online

McKinney ISD's superintendent answered questions about if and when in-person school will resume at a virtual chamber of commerce luncheon.

It happened hours after parents and students stood outside the district's headquarters calling for classrooms to reopen.

A group of parents gathered Tuesday outside the McKinney ISD administration building. They held up signs with phrases like "Our Kids Our Choice" and "Education Is Essential."

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Feeling kids haven't had a voice in the discussions about when schools should reopen, Serena Ashcroft organized this rally at McKinney ISD.

“We want to be a voice for children,” she said. “No one is thinking of our children.”

10-year-old Beatrice Spreadling said she learns better in the classroom.

“I think I learned more at school. It was easier to listen, and I wasn’t distracted like on the computer,” she said.

Kids also miss their friends.

When 12-year-old Madison Ashcroft learned school would open for virtual learning only for the first three weeks, she immediately felt more extensions would follow.

“I cried a little bit,” she said.

On Tuesday, McKinney ISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel told a chamber of commerce virtual luncheon that he does plan for in-person classes to resume for those who want them on Sept. 3.

“I understand the fears and concerns parents have,” he said. “Are we going to continue to extend it? The answer right now is no.”

Unlike Dallas and Tarrant counties, Collin County did not pursue a public health control order, giving each district more control over its calendar.

Dr. McDaniel said 62 percent of parents want to return to the classroom, as do most of the district's teachers.

“The majority I've talked to want to be back as soon as we can get them there,” he said. “And I do too, but I also have a responsibility to keep them safe.”

At the rally, parents — ranging from nurses to a sanitation worker — said they understand the need to keep teachers safe, but they are concerned about how to educate their children while working their essential jobs.

“The city depends on me to keep city safe and clean and sanitary,” said Mike Norris, a father and sanitation worker.

“I am a nurse. An essential worker,” said Ginger Daniels. “I am not sure how he will manage sitting home by himself all day.”

The McKinney superintendent did say that if there is a need to go all virtual again later in the year, the quality of the instruction will be better than it was in the spring.