School district’s plan to provide child care for teachers not sitting well with Blue Valley parents

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — School teachers are responsible for a lot of kids, including their own.

When Blue Valley Schools go back to learning on Sept. 8, some teachers will need child care for their own children. The district’s plan to help those teachers isn’t setting well with everyone.

Parents in the Blue Valley School District are upset about plans to provide child care for teachers who can’t find a place to care for their child while they’re at work.

The district would provide free childcare, paying $25 toward child care with the YMCA, which would be housed inside some of the district’s schools. Parents complain that day care would be hosted inside schools that are currently off-limits to students who’ll be enrolled in hybrid learning for the first four weeks of the school year.

The plan is frustrating for parents FOX4 spoke with, including Christine Vasquez and Amy Thomas, both of whom have children in the district. Both women argue that if day care for children can be hosted at a school, in-person learning for the district’s students can be as well.

“Are our buildings safer and meeting protocols to send children back there? If they are, why can’t my children go back to school?” Vasquez asked.

“I don’t feel it’s the wisest decision. It communicates two different messages. The schools are safe or they’re not safe. That’s really what us, as parents, are wanting to know.”

Parents in the district strongly voted against the hybrid learning model. Blue Valley’s year will begin with four weeks of distance learning, where students will study online, as they did in the spring semester.

“it seems hypocritical,” Thomas said. “It’s confusing. It seems like they’re contradicting themselves, and telling us one thing, but telling the teachers another. It’s just not consistent.”

A district spokesperson explained the key is small group sizes. Kristi McNerlin, spokesperson for Blue Valley School District, said the plan would keep child care students in small groups of 8-14, and separate them from other people who might be in the school building. McNerlin said the program’s primary goal is to keep teachers in their classrooms, connected to their students.

“It allows children to have their teacher In front of them. We know there are teachers who have unresolved child care issues. This will support their ability to be in front of kids and we know that’s what parents want,” McNerlin said.

NcNerlin said that daily $25 allotment comes from money that’s used to pay substitute teachers. She said it’s a cost savings since hiring a substitute teacher costs the district $135 per day.

Parents who have voiced their disapproval with this plan a rally outside the school district headquarters on Marty Street Thursday at 4 p.m.

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