Parents Plan to Turn Scarcely Used Office Conference Room Into Classroom

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Scottie and Darrin Wikoff are taking coronavirus seriously and didn't want to send their kids back to school without promises class sizes would shrink.

"We can't sit around and wait, we can't we have full-time jobs we have preschool-age kids at home," Darrin said. "We have to have care for them."

They settled on something they read about: their own classroom, not at the kitchen table, but in a conference room at Darrin's office. The conference room isn't getting used much these days.

"There are nine families we run pretty tight with and they're anchored around our third graders and this is us," Scottie said.

Those nine families will all send their kids to learn together.

"We're all going to agree upfront we're taking social distancing seriously and we're going to continue to maintain this because we're now one group. We're one community in this," Darrin said.

The students will all stay enrolled in their usual school, using remote learning but without the teacher. Their daughter Charlotte said she's looking forward to trying it out.

"I think it will be kind of the same but different," Charlotte said.

Darrin and Scottie have been sifting through resumes to hire a teacher, hoping with teachers resigning over COVID-19, or retiring, they'll be able to find someone. If hiring a teacher sounds expensive, Scottie and Darrin said it might be time to do a little math.

"It's about $250 per child per month," Scottie said.

A $45,000 teacher salary split 16 ways across all those families, and it's not totally out there for many middle-class families with two working parents.

Darrin thinks it's a movement that will catch on.

"It is a thing it's the reinvention of the one-room schoolhouse where you have multiple different ages with smaller groups, and I thought, 'You know, I can make this work.'"

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