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University of Idaho parents discuss sending students back to campus

Some parents have mixed emotions about sending their children back to school after the University of Idaho murders.

BOISE, Idaho — Heather Cook just wants her daughter safe.

“We'll listen to what she wants to do.”

But after the killing of four University of Idaho students on Nov. 13, Cook said safe might mean staying home for the rest of the semester.

Cook is not alone; many students went home early for Thanksgiving break. Without a suspect in custody, some parents feel uneasy about sending their children back to Moscow.

“I’m not really worried about when she goes back, like, being at home,” Cook said, “more along the lines of … she likes to study at night in the library, and you know, she’d go out with friends.”

After the break, there are only three weeks left until the end of the semester. While police maintain this was a targeted attack, University of Idaho President Scott Green said he recognizes students have different comfort levels when it comes to being on campus.

“All reactions and feelings are valid,” Green said during Sunday’s news conference. “We all process these tragedies differently.”

He also said some students want to come back to campus because they gain comfort from the structure of classes and being with their friends. Instructors are preparing for both sets of students.

“We learned a lot during COVID, and we have many course delivery options our faculty can deploy to meet student needs,” Green said.

KTVB received several comments on social media from parents hesitating to send their kids back to Moscow.

One mom commented, “I don’t want her to go back but she wants to spend time with friends before the Christmas break.”

Another mom is tired of what she calls a lack of transparency from police, saying, “how can we let her go back?”

But others are not as worried.

One parent said the university is doing everything it can to keep students safe but wants her son to check in more often.

Another mom, whose son is a grad student, said, “It would be comforting to know this person(s) is no longer roaming around, but I am not in fear of any incidents.”

“I think everybody's hoping that by the time it's time to go back next weekend, there'll be more information,” Cook said. “But if not, I think we're just going to sit down as a family and discuss it, you know — if she feels safe, if she wants to go back.”

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