NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) — “I don’t know, I don’t know.”
 
That’s the answer Shonka Dukureh gives you if you ask her what she plans to do when it comes to sending her 10-year-old son back to school in the fall. 
 
“He wants to go back, but he doesn’t understand this COVID thing and how it changed our lives and what parents are concerned about...He just wants to go meet new friends,” says Dukureh. 
 
It’s a concern a lot of parents have on whether or not it will be safe to send their children back to school. Also a problem for Dukureh and others, some don’t have a choice because they don’t have the internet access or devices at home to have their kids do virtual school. 
 
“Schools, as we know let out early for the last school year so I’m concerned about my son’s deficits, I’m concerned about how he’s going to catch up when he gets back to schools.”
 
MNPS spokesperson Sean Braisted says of the questions about access:
 
Metro Schools is working to provide a virtual option to families who are not comfortable returning to an in-person classroom environment in August. Schools will also be implementing safety protocols and providing PPE for students and staff for those students or families who are unable to participate in virtual schooling. MNPS will use existing technology resources to provide for students that will be replaced upon the availability of newly purchased laptops so that students who wish to participate in the remote option will have the laptops to do so.
 
To that and the school district’s reopening plan, Sonya Thomas from Nashville PROPEL says:
 
The options presented by MNPS are more accommodating to the district than they are to families. Do parents have a real choice? If families are afraid to compromise their child’s health by sending them in-person to school but don’t have the support to participate in remote learning, what is the option they’re offering? The district promised electronic devices and internet hotspots for all students, but it’s now clear that not every child will get these tools before school starts. I’m concerned about how the district will prioritize students who are most in need and afraid that some of these children will fall even further through the cracks.
 
For Dukureh, she’s most concerned that if she can get the internet and laptop, if her son will still get a proper education. “If I’m going to do it at home I want to make sure that program online is quality for him. I want to be trained as a parent on how to navigate that system. I want to make sure I have an educator that is trained on that system.”
 
She goes on to say, “I just think it’s fair that the school system just should consider where everyone is economically and if they truly have the access to make this transition to technology or whatever successful.”

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