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Central Texas parents take over children's education as coronavirus shuts schools

Posted at 6:38 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 23:14:44-04

WACO,TX — A growing school closure list comes as parents in Central Texas' biggest school districts begin taking over their children's education, temporarily, during extended spring breaks.

Many parents say the sudden announcement caught them off-guard, sending them scrambling to keep their children's education on-track.

When Central Texas school districts started extending spring break due to coronavirus concerns, most parents cheered, until they realized they'd just inherited two weeks worth of their child's care and education, forcing them to change work schedules and come up with ways to keep their children engaged in learning,

If you've never done it, that's no small feat.

The coronavirus turned Victoria Arkadie into not just her children's parent. It turned her into their only teacher too.

With schools closed around the world due to the virus and an extended spring break in Texas, parents like Arkadie face a huge challenge of trying to keep their children's education going with little-to-no help from the school district.

"I've been trying to contact them to get some kind of paperwork or a lesson plan, you know, something to go off of, you know, trying to throw us in teaching our kids," she explained.

A trip to Waco ISD offices found it locked up, lights out, and newspapers piling up.

"They're not doing anything for education, or sending anything home, booklets so they can stay equipped with what they're learning so they don't forget,” explained Asunte Collins, a Waco parent of two.

Some schools bucked that trend. Kendrick Elementary has parents picking up work packets to take home to students.

Waco ISD announced Monday students will begin learning at home next week. 25 News reached out to Temple ISD but didn't hear back. Killeen ISD it's working on a parent resource guide.

Copperas Cove ISD will have education packets ready for pick-up Tuesday.

It comes as parents find other educational resources, like museums and libraries closed.

These new teachers got a bit of a break when Governor Abbott waived use of the annual STAAR tests of student readiness, but Arkadie downloaded last year's test and plans to teach from it.

"Just because they canceled it there, my child will still struggle if he's not passing that," she said.

As parents improvise lesson plans for their students, they also have to cobble together more flexible work schedules to make sure somebody's watching their children.

"From the time where they were supposed to come to school, it kind of makes it harder because we have to change our work schedules," explained Collins.

These parents say they're in this for the long-haul, should the coronavirus cut short the school year.

"I mean, you can never let your guard down. There always has to be a Plan B, you know, even a C and D," said Arkadie.

Because they say, education must continue somehow, because their children's future depends on it.

"I will not let my children fail," said Arkadie.