Parents in Middletown pushing back against their city’s pandemic education plan


MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Parents in Middletown are pushing back against their city’s COVID-19 pandemic education plan. Students are part of a hybrid model, but parents are hoping to get them in the classroom five days a week.

Dozens of parents spread out in a big group at Harbor Park Thursday talking about their frustrations, and looking for solutions, asking the school board to send their students back to class full-time.

“I think our schools are fantastic and that is why I want my kids to be able to go there more!” one parent told News 8.

Her student is in the new aerospace program at Middletown High School, Governor Ned Lamont just cut the ribbon on it a week ago. Instead of a couple of days a week, she would like to see him in those labs full-time learning as much as he can.

RELATED: New Aerospace & Manufacturing Center opening at Middletown HS as industry struggles amid pandemic

The parents who met at Harbor Park Thursday all agreed: they are not set up to teach their children.

“I am their mother and not their teacher,” Erin Coughlin said. “So for me to sit down and try and get them to focus: one is doing one thing and the other is doing another thing, it’s just not working.”

The parents who talked to us at Harbor Park believe the safest place for their children is in the school system; the schools are doing a great job of containing the spread of the virus.

Sarah Wiliarty, a parent, said, “If we look at the spread in schools versus the spread in the community, spread in schools is lower. If I could say to people, ‘you could send your kids someplace where they will be safer all day long, and as a little bonus they might learn something’, that’s our schools!”

Joe Bilides, another parent, added, “They do the temperature check, they do the social distancing, they do the masks, and they have mask breaks which is great. “

“Alternatives for parents who are working in a hybrid model, are sending our children to various daycare which we feel potentially increases their exposure to the virus,” said Beata Mcauliffe.

She has one child who attends CREC and goes full-time and two more at Middletown High School who are in the hybrid model.

“The other two are struggling, they’re struggling socially, they’re struggling educationally, they are struggling emotionally. Kindergarten online does not work,” said Mcauliffe.

News 8 did reach out to the school superintendent for comment. We have not heard back.

Parents say with Middlesex County COVID-19 numbers lower than the rest of the state, they are pushing to get their students in class full-time.

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