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Parents searching for private teachers as districts give students the option to stay home in the fall

Online searches including the term "tutor" have gone up on Google statewide in previous weeks.

DALLAS, Texas — As COVID-19 shows no signs of slowing down in Texas, parents are exploring the option and feasibility of keeping their kids at home when school resumes in the coming weeks. 

The Texas Education Agency is reportedly prepared to give districts the final say when it comes to starting up classes again in August.

Some districts have already announced that they won't stop offering a virtual option to students so they can learn from home during the pandemic if they so choose. 

When schools closed down in the spring, parents quickly learned how difficult virtual learning can be. 

Many found out they weren't just having to be a parent in a trying time, but also a teacher. 

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So it's no surprise that searches including the term "tutor" have gone up over the last few weeks in Texas, according to data from Google. 

Requests and offers regarding private at-home teachers are also easy to find on Facebook right now. 

Katie Berryhill runs The Berryhill Brilliant Minds Education for Kids. She's a private at-home teacher with nearly ten years of experience in North Texas and is certified with the state to teach early childhood education all the way up to 12th grade.

Berryhill told WFAA that she's been getting a handful of requests to instruct students either virtually this coming school year or in person, yet socially distanced, at a student's home.  

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In just one day, she said she received messages from up to 15 parents. 

"They're excited that there's another option for them and their kids," Berryhill said. 

Berryhill either tutors students under their own school's curriculum or teaches her own curriculum that aligns with state requirements, depending on a parents' request. 

She worked with some students at the end of the previous school year and has been working with some in summer school right now. 

"Parents are frustrated and they're nervous because their kids are nervous. Some have said that they don't want to go back to school and possibly wear a mask all day," Berryhill said. "Some students can't learn just from the computer and distance learning is really hard." 

Berryhill stressed how hard it is for parents to focus on their jobs as well as their child's education too. 

"There's always going to have to be a re-teaching moment, and they would have the ability to do that in the classroom but they can't right now," Berryhill said. 

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Unfortunately, COVID-19 has created an academic achievement gap and the students who lack social-class based advantages are the ones that need in-person teaching the most. 

But that type of instruction might be too pricey for students who need it. 

Berryhill told WFAA that she's flexible on pricing and hopes others offering services consider doing the same. 

Prices online for different tutors vary. The cheapest rate WFAA found was $25 an hour. 

"It's all about helping," Berryhill said. "And if I can help, I want to help." 

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