Parents, teachers in Broward County say students should go back to class full-time

Broward parents demand educational options during coronavirus pandemic
Broward parents demand educational options during coronavirus pandemic

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Broward County School District has sent out a questionnaire to parents asking what they think school should look like in the fall.

The district presented four options:

1) Distance or electronic learning, which is what students have been doing since the pandemic started.

2) Full-time, in class instruction.

3) A combination of in-class and virtual learning

4) Broward virtual school, which many students already participate in, but those programs aren’t affiliated with a specific campus.

That questionnaire got a lot of parents and teachers riled up.

Many of them showed up outside the School Board building Tuesday with signs.

They were chanting and overwhelmingly calling for in-class, five days a week instruction.

They say there are ways to do it safely, following CDC guidelines.

The parents and teachers who participated in the protest are concerned about widening learning gaps and future impacts. They say children are just not learning at home.

“Kids are safer in school,” one teacher, Kelly Blaire, said. “There’s parents that have to work. They’re leaving the kids home alone. They’re safer in school. Some of these kids don’t eat unless they’re in school. Some, they don’t get attention, they don’t get hugs, they don’t get praises unless they’re in school. They’re safer, they’re healthier in school.”

Broward County Public Schools spokeswoman Kathy Koch said school officials are still researching different possibilities and appreciate the input.

“This is not a done deal,” she said. “We can’t make the decision without our parents. It’s for our parents and for our students.”

The parents who came out Tuesday also came with expert opinion from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has also outlined steps schools should take at different grade levels with the pandemic in mind.

But the organization “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

The issue is one of the items expected to be discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting.

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