As 90 employees test positive or quarantine for COVID-19, parents protest Barrow Co.‘s virtual learning decision

BARROW COUNTY, Ga. — Some Barrow County parents protested their school district’s decision to go with all-virtual learning to start the new school year.

The parents gathered at the school board office Friday because they told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that they feel like the school board made the decision without their input.

The superintendent says the decision to have kids learn online was made because of the rising virus rate here.

[Barrow County moves to all-virtual instruction after 90 staff members forced to quarantine]

But the parents say there are ways to allow students to learn in class and stay safe.

“It’s a disadvantage for our children,” parent Susan Mohan said, holding a sign written with intentionally bad grammar. “I feel like this is a good representation of what’s going to happen if our kids are not back in school.”

The protesting parents say by doing online learning, it will adversely impact education and financially hurt parents who will have to miss work or pay for daycare.


Parent Amanda Hill said the decision will also affect kids mentally.

“I personally believe that my child is better off going to school mentally than staying at home,” Hill said.

Barrow County Schools superintendent Dr. Chris McMichael told Jones that there were two factors that drove the decision: the high spread of COVID-19 in the community and a number of his staff are out because of the virus.

“We’ve had right at 90 staff members that have either been tested positive for the COVID-19, or being in close contact,” McMichael said.

[RELATED: COUNTY-BY-COUNTY: Plans for returning to school this fall]

The parents say the school district could have had kids wear masks, socially distance and properly wash their hands and disinfect.

“People are going to get sick. It happens. We get sick all the time,” parent Marina Rutherford said.

Chalis Montgomery told Jones that the virus rate is too high to take a chance.

“People are losing income. People are scared. People are desperate. But I would always rather be loud on the part of saving lives than have to say I was right afterwards,” Chalis said.

The parents told Jones that they want the option to have their kids back in school and the school board to re-consider their decision.

The superintendent said he wants to see the virus rate go down before that happens.