NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -- Morgan Barth knows his twin daughters will start kindergarten at home.  

“It will be virtual,” he says.  

But he hopes the “virtual setting” won’t last long and that they’ll have the choice to send the girls into their school building after Labor Day.  

“I think there are a lot of parents who need school, there are a lot of kids that need school, and we’re all about giving parents a choice. I certainly wouldn’t want one size fits all. I don’t think that everybody should go back to school, I think the family should be able to choose what they think is best for their kids especially at the elementary school level,” says Barth.  

It’s not a new debate over whether kids should or shouldn’t return to the classroom during the pandemic. However Barth started an online petition that’s gaining attention. One he hopes MNPS will pay attention to as well.

“Really thinking through what the unintended consequences are of keeping kids out of school. Both in terms of their education, in terms of their social emotional growth, and in terms of their health and safety.” 

Barth also makes it clear that he doesn’t fall into either extreme when it comes to the virus, where some may say it’s a hoax or are so fearful they don’t plan to leave their house until there is a vaccine.

“We take it very seriously in our family. We wear masks, we’re not going to any gatherings, we’re not going out to lower Broadway or anything. I think that there is a tremendous amount of evidence to say that school is safe for young kids.” 

Not only does Barth want his daughters to go into school to learn because he’s concerned virtual programs can’t teach reading and hot to socialize, he also says it brings added costs for child care, which he hadn’t planned on for this year.   

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a stretch. We’re a little strapped doing that, but we can pull it off. I’m really worried about kids that aren’t going to have that opportunity.” 

So going into another decision about whether schools will reopen after Labor Day, he’s hoping MNPS will have a good reason on whether or not they give parents the choice to send their kids in.

“I want to see tangible evidence they are really getting ready to open. And if they don’t open in September, that there is a really good reason for not opening, and the reason is not that they’re unprepared.” 

Thursday, the Barth family picked up their daughters laptops and had a Zoom call earlier in the week with teachers.

Barth says, “I think they’re trying their best and I really would be sad if this looks like some kind of parent verse teachers conflict, I hope everybody can see that it’s safe to go back to school especially for younger kids.” 

MNPS has a new Virtual Playbook to find resources and answer questions for parents. They’ve also added videos to their YouTube page that helps outline things like Learning in the Virtual Environment and Creating a Student Workplace for Learning at Home.  

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