Parents of students in Tehachapi Unified School District are expressing concern about the struggles their children face while learning from home in the wake of the district's decision to return to virtual learning as of Dec. 7.

"My kids are missing the regular daily structure in school. It is very important for them to have peer interaction as well as consistent in-person instruction. These are life skills that they will never get back," said Beth Bryant, a mother of two.

She said both of her children had coronavirus and exhibited "very little symptoms" for one day.

"This virus is not something to shut the whole country down over," Bryant said. "Other states are clearly doing fine with in-person school with careful restrictions. I don't understand why this district/state can't do the same."

Kristin Herman, a mother of three, said her children have not had the chance to do in-person instruction.

"It's frustrating to know it will be even longer before they get the chance to have it. Two of my three children are failing," said Herman, whose oldest child has always had trouble with math. "He has been having a very hard time getting the work done."

Herman went on to say that she has been forced to stop looking for work because she doesn't have other childcare options as well as caring for their grandmother while their father works six days a week and cut hours because of the virus.

"We are doing the best we can and with very little, if any, help," Herman said. "My middle child is only doing well because his teacher understands how difficult this is and adjusted how he grades the children in his class based on attending Zooms and what work they can get done aside from meetings."

Kelly Oehring said her daughter has not attended Zoom or distance learning since March.

"Only one of her teachers has reached out and given me work once," Oehring said. "The school has failed my child. She is depressed and in therapy twice a week. She is isolated and is home all day by herself because I work full time,"

Jessica Nicole, a single mother of three children, said her son never wanted distance learning, and he misses socializing with his friends.

"He is doing terrible now that he has no real direction. The kids only learn maybe one-fourth of what they should and then the rest lies on the parents," Nicole said.

Nicole went on to say that she doesn't think it is fair that her son has to do school work past dark.

"Everyone is having separate struggles... This is causing major anxiety, depression, lack of social skills and our kids aren't learning. It's unacceptable," Nicole said.

Andrea Miles has three boys, in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades.

"(They) are ready to return to in-class learning! They miss the interactions and hands-on learning. Their grades are dropping and this is not what I want for their education," Miles said. "I understand there are some parents and students who don't want to return and are comfortable with online learning. I want to have the choice."

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