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Alachua County School Board members discuss reopening schools for more than seven hours

Hundreds of people tuned into the virtual meeting ahead of the anticipated August start date
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 11:48 PM EDT
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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) -

More than 700 people who tuned into the Alachua County School Board workshop meeting agree—reopening brick and mortar schools needs to be safe for all.

A speaker said, "Our kids are our most valuable resource.

Presentations from district staff focused on personal protective equipment, digital distance learning and sanitization. Dozens of comments over the phone and in-person called for collaboration to keep everyone safe.

Retired educator Angie Terrell said, "And education is an essential part of their wellbeing and their continued growth. So I am here to make sure these kids get the very same opportunity that all of us here in the past had before this pandemic came along and I think it's something we can do if we work together."

Some changes include a delayed start date, increased testing for teachers and students and mandatory masks for all.

"I'm hearing a lot of fear," said Carmen Ward who serves as the president of the Alachua County Education Association and represents about 3200 educators.

Ward added, "It is the union's position that masks will be required, mandatory, absolutely. And I do want to say too I agree with Dr. McNealy saying that all children and employees should be tested."

The school board will vote on July 15 and 21 on the reopen plan with any changes and suggestions made in the workshop meeting for the first day back to brick & mortar schools.

Watch the meeting here.

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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