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Seminole County family switches to homeschooling because of Delta variant

Originally published by wesh.com.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —
Class is going to look a lot different for Cameron Martins this school year.

The 10-year-old was supposed to start 5th grade at a Seminole County private school on Monday. But instead, his mom Erin made a last-minute switch and enrolled him into an online homeschooling program on that day instead.

“It was really tough,” said Erin Martins. “I was a big ball of anxiety probably for two weeks because you don’t know what’s right. I’ve never done this before. I’m a single mom.”
Erin said what convinced her to make the change was the pandemic.

“What scared me was I had three friends within a week, three different kids school-aged, all had COVID,” she said.

She made that discovery at the beginning of August, so she booked an appointment with Cameron’s pediatrician for advice on the school year last week.

“After talking to her, I said this is my final decision,” Erin said.

Cameron went to class in person all last school year. But his mom said what is different this semester: the Delta variant. The variant is affecting more kids than the original virus and that worries Erin because Cameron was a micro preemie.

“He was 1 pound 11 ounces when he was born,” she said. “He was in the hospital for 95 days in the NICU. He has intermittent asthma. He’s had lung issues.”

Erin said she pulled her son from in-person school because she is not sure how the Delta variant could affect him given his medical history.

And their family isn’t alone. According to the U.S. Census bureau, the number of households that are homeschooling more than doubled during the beginning of the pandemic going from 5.4% in the spring to 11.1% in the fall. Florida saw the second largest bump in homeschooling in the country, up 13.1%, just after Alaska.

Erin said she first considered enrolling Cameron in Florida Virtual School.

“Just trying to even get a start date, get signed up, it took forever,” she said.

So she ended up opting for the online curriculum Time4Learning instead.

“It’s very user-friendly,” she said. “I have the opportunity and I feel fortunate enough that I am able to keep him home and keep him safe.”

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