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Abington Heights School District plans to go virtual in September

Parents tell Newswatch 16 they would prefer to have a choice.

CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. — Students have no idea when they'll enter their school building again, but they know it won't be in September when classes in the Abington Heights School District start back up again. 

"They need to be with other kids, they can't stay within closed walls all the time and grow and flourish," said parent Lindsey Reinhimer-Loss.

The formal plan is still getting hashed out, but as of right now students will begin the school year virtually, with the goal of bringing them back into the building as soon as possible.

"Nobody wants virtual for a long time. We don't want to be virtual one minute longer than we have to be," said Superintendent Mike Mahon.

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Lindsey Reinhimer-Loss has two kids, one of which is an incoming high school freshman with an individualized education program. She says he needs one on one, hands-on teaching.

"I think I was really disappointed in terms of not giving the public an opportunity or a choice to see what works best for each family. Every family is different," said Reinhimer-Loss.

At a 5-hour long Zoom board meeting Thursday night, members said it's important to have as much live interaction between teachers and students as possible.

Adriane Heine says her 3rd-grade daughter only had 15 minutes a week of live teaching during the virtual spring semester. 

"It was really tough for her and it was not at all engaging. It was like pulling teeth," said Heine.

Heine is worried the teachers still won't have enough training for virtual learning, with only about 6 weeks to go before school starts again.

She's also worried about her rising senior's college application process, and both of her kids' missing their extra-curricular activities.

"When a kid finds the thing that matters to them, when a teenager finds what really makes them tick, it's so crucial for their enjoyment of life," said Heine.

Her daughter Lauren thinks the school district could find a way to bring students back in some capacity.

"If we follow the right procedures in social distancing, we can have a good high school experience this year while also staying safe if we social distance but we also get to perform together, play together, and interact with one another," said Lauren Heine, who is a member of the Abington Heights High School orchestra.

Virtual classes start on September 9th.