Dundalk family fighting for virtual learning opportunity

Virtual learning
Posted at 11:00 PM, Aug 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-01 23:21:08-04

DUNDALK, Md (WMAR) — Following recommendations from the CDC, several school districts in the area have announced universal masking for the fall. But still, some parents want their kids to stay virtual and are struggling to enroll them.

"I feel like with the COVID cases rising, we’re not the only parents that are gonna struggle with this," said Baltimore County mom Dawn Lee.

Lee and her family are worried about what the fall brings as the delta variant surges across the country.

"It frightens us and it frightens my kids," said Baltimore County mom Dawn Lee.

"I’m not gonna put my children in jeopardy," said dad Robert Chesser.

"I just feel like it’s more safe to go virtual," said 5th grader Trey Gardner.

Trey and sister Brianna stayed home all last year and were successful online so that was the plan again in the fall.

But they unknowingly missed the Baltimore County Schools deadlines to enroll.

"The Board of Education, the director of learning, the director of the Board of Education, the Governor's Office. I’ve just reached out to everyone I possibly can," said Chesser.

They were told they are not accepting any more virtual learning students. Even with the new universal masking protocol for county schools, Chesser is concerned. Not only are the kids not vaccinated, but he just beat cancer and is immunocompromised.

"Children, they’re germy. They touch things. They touch their face. They pull their mask down," said Chesser.

Dr. Christopher Thompson calls their station high risk and said while deadlines are important, so is flexibility as the data is constantly changing.

"I think parents are going to really have to think hard about this as we see cases increase, as we see the severity of disease potentially increase, the hospitals becoming more and more burdened," said Thompson.

The Loyola University associate professor said projections show the current surge will peak in the fall.

According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, another 100,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 before Thanksgiving if things don’t get better.

"What’s fascinating about many of these models is that it depends very much on our behaviors. If we wear masks in public, it drops dramatically. There’s no peak," said Thompson.

WMAR-2 News has reached out to Baltimore County Schools about this issue and has not heard back. According to their website, enrollment closed July 2.