Student: Warwick’s decision to begin school year with remote learning took choice away from us

School Updates

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Even though the Warwick School Committee’s vote to start the school year remotely was made with safety in mind, some parents and students tell Eyewitness News they’re frustrated they had no say in the decision.

Pilgrim High School student Kaylee Collins believes it’s unfair the committee didn’t consider what the students wanted.

“I didn’t like distance learning,” she said. “It was very hard … it was just stressful the entire time.”

Kaylee said students should be given a choice whether to return to class in-person or continue with distance learning.

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“If you want to go back, you should have the choice to go back,” Kaylee added. “I feel like we were forgotten in this situation, just pushed under the rug, and I feel like they kind of let us down a little bit.”

Her mother, Jennifer Collins, said the committee’s decision took that choice away from them.

“To think they intentionally went through the summer without any intention of sending the kids back is really disheartening,” Jennifer said. “I have a lot of faith in the schools that my kids go to and that the teachers and everyone are going to keep them safe under the circumstances.”

The school district’s plan also drew criticism from Gov. Gina Raimondo, who argues that Warwick officials “threw in the towel” without trying hard enough to find ways to bring at least some students back into the classroom.

“We’re hearing from parents who are saying, ‘this isn’t far to my children,’ and they’re right,” Raimondo said. “Those kids deserve better.”

Related: Fauci on reopening RI schools: ‘You’ve got to be flexible’ »

Karen Bachus, the chair of the Warwick School Committee, stands by the vote, saying she believes it’s the only safe option.

“If the governor can give us a plan, give us the money, we can talk, but right now my duty is to keep our students and our teachers and our families safe, that is the bottom line,” she said.

Kaylee believes with safety protocols in place, students can safely return to school.

“I get it, it’s a health crisis, but we’re healthy,” she said. “I think you should have a choice to go back.”

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