KANSAS CITY, Mo. (NBC) – Some Kansas City-area parents have chosen to take their students out of public and private schools this year, in favor of teaching them at home.
One of those parents resigned from his teaching job in the Shawnee Mission School District and is now teaching his children, and other families’ children, in his home.
Josiah Enyart had been teaching elementary school for years.
Enyart said he was planning to teach at Comanche Elementary School again this year, but the district’s decision to require masks for all students changed that.
“I don’t think the kids needed them, and so I was looking forward to them going and having a normal year and being able to be kids and learn,” Enyart said. “I can’t imagine what a first grader’s thinking when they look up seeing a teacher not wearing a mask and they have to wear one. So that was really the big thing that that pushed me out.”
Enyart calls the flu a “bigger health concern” for his kids than COVID-19. Doctors with the University of Kansas Health System maintain that COVID-19 and influenza are completely different viruses, and carry very different risks. Specifically, COVID-19 can cause multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) and long-haul covid symptoms — neither occur with the flu.
“As a parent, you do everything you can to protect your kids, but we take risks every day,” Enyart said. “You know, I drive in a car, we could get hit by somebody else in a car. So I don’t want to stop my kids from living, I don’t want to stop my kids from growing naturally and healthy.”
Enyart resigned at the end of July, days after Shawnee Mission’s school board voted to require masks for elementary school students. He was assessed a $1,000 “liquidation fee.”
The district said he’s one of 24 teachers who resigned after the May 31 deadline to do so. Four of those teacher’s fees were waived, which is common in the case of a move or illness. Enyart requested that his fee be waived, but the board denied that request.
A GoFundMe page was created to help cover that cost, and people donated more than $27,000. Enyart will use some of that money to buy materials to teach from his home.
In Kansas, homeschoolers have to register as non-accredited private schools. The Kansas Department of Education says for this school year, more than 1000 new registrations have been made in that category statewide.