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Alachua County school district staff present reopening details to advisory committee

An anonymous teacher says more needs to be done to protect teachers from testing positive
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 11:49 PM EDT
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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) -Ahead of an Alachua County school board workshop meeting, the school district advisory committee met to talk reopening in the midst of the pandemic. Superintendent Karen Clarke said, “so we’ve got thousands of masks, the disposable masks, we have cloth masks.”

The purpose of the group is to give community input on issues affecting the district like COVID-19. Clarke added, “since March we have been gathering a strategic reserve of PPE, recognizing that if school was going to return int he fall, every school in the country was going to be looking for the same things.”

One committee member mentions the safety of teachers needs to be addressed and says, "it concerns me for our teachers, they're the foundation of the classroom."

Julie Crosby says the district needs to consider what happens if a teacher tests positive. "When you're sick because you caught something in a classroom, you don't have to right now while you're still on vacation be worried about this. You're going to be taken care of so right now they don't seem to have that assurance."

The Florida Department of Education released an emergency order requiring districts to have brick and mortar schools open at least five days a week.

While this doesn't mean online learning is off the table, staff with the district gave the advisory committee details on what students, teachers and parents can expect come August 10.

One teacher says more questions need to be answered. "We need to have a back up plan for when brick and mortar is not the safest choice and I don't think that's been done."

A teacher with the school district who wanted to remain anonymous to avoid criticism says she teaches 150 students. "My biggest fear is bringing it home to my own family, my husband and my child."

She says teachers need options. "I hope that teachers are given a choice. I just hope that there's a way for us teachers to be seen as people and our safety is a priority."

Details provided by staff include sanitizing the school and buses, free COVID-19 testing for employees and procedure if anyone in the school tests positive.

Watch the meeting here.

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