Parents concerned with how crowded schools will handle students as they return to the classroom

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Several schools in the metro area had issues with overcrowding before the pandemic. Now parents are wondering how the districts will handle the issue as more students return to the classroom.

Parents at Peachtree Charter Middle School said that sometimes students were shoulder to shoulder in the hallways before the pandemic.

“It was a concern for me before the pandemic happened,” a middle school student’s parent told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes.

The parents were concerned about the bustling student body at the school.

“When my son would walk down the hallway, he would be physically touching somebody on all four sides of his body,” a parent said.

Parents are wondering how the school is going to address this issue as most students will likely decide to return.

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“They’re just so massively overcrowded. Even if they split it — kids only went to school half the time — they still wouldn’t be able to social distance,” a parent said.

There are parents who have taken much more drastic measures. Some DeKalb County parents have removed their children from the public system altogether.

“I have a variety of friends who both looked into — and some of them successfully have enrolled their children into private school or have switched over to home schooling,” a parent said.

In 2019, DeKalb County had close to 99,000 students enrolled. In 2020, the number of enrolled students decreased to about 93,000. The district lost more than 5,000 students in just one year.

Schools rely on attendance numbers to get state and federal funding. The student body population decline simply means less money for the district.

“There’s a lot of aspects that we need to look at, and this is not the moment certainly to be taking funding away from public schools,” a parent said.