Parents in Tennessee want a refund from their child’s Memphis private school for services they said are no longer provided because of the coronavirus closure.
“The right thing to do is give us our money back,” Jacqueline King, mother of a 3-year-old in the Lausanne Collegiate School Pre-K program, told FOX 13.
School officials shut down the campus on March 16 over coronavirus concerns, but King contends she and her husband are now responsible for teaching their son and the tuition bill.
“This is obviously wrong, and their response to us is that we signed a contract saying there is no refunds,” King said.
Drew Smith, Lausanne communications director, told the news site parents signed a contract agreeing to an online teaching plan that involves a morning class meeting with the teacher and virtual meetings with parents.
“In light of the need for social distancing students have transitioned to daily live zoom morning meetings as a class with their teacher in lower school,” he said. “They’re assigned activities that they would be doing in the classroom, so while the medium has changed the process hasn’t.”
Smith said teachers meet with parents at least here times a week during the shutdown.
“We do offer parents the option to take out insurance to cover any need to withdraw,” he said.
King contends the bottom line is she’s now working as the teacher, and that’s not what she signed up for.
“I have to do the work now that I paid Lausanne for,” she said. “We’re asking for Lausanne to do the right thing and return money to us for services they’re not providing.”
King’s struggle isn’t unlike the parents of college students and other private school students across the country who have been forced home amid government imposed lockdowns. While many colleges are offering partial refunds on housing costs and campus meal plans, most aren’t refunding tuition and are instead simply shifting to virtual lessons.
“A lot of colleges simply can’t afford to give (tuition) refunds,” Robert Kelchen, a Seton Hall University professor, told MarketWatch. “They don’t have the extra money to do that when they are still paying their employees.”
Most private elementary and high schools in the New Orleans area are also charging full tuition as parents upload videos and print out lesson plans from home, NOLA reports.
Schools in the area range from about $5,000 a year to more than $20,000, and many parents don’t believe their child is receiving the same quality of education from home.
“We are paying for a service that we are not receiving a complete amount of,” one parent said. “I feel that the Catholic Church could supplement teacher pay while this is going on instead of still burdening most of the families that are also suffering without jobs.”