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Palm Beach County School Board working on safety plan

'We must serve our students'
Posted at 9:42 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 23:30:36-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Teachers took their concerns to the Palm Beach County School Board Wednesday.

This comes as teachers protest what they call a lack of planning to keep them safe once they return to brick and mortar as well as questions about who is eligible to opt-out of classroom teaching.

"We must serve our students, we have numerous layers of protection in place to make our campuses as safe as possible," Superintendent Fennoy said.

Fennoy commented at the beginning of Wednesday night's special school board meeting. He responded to criticism from teachers who said the district is unprepared to open school campuses to students.

Teachers want answers to questions like what if a student doesn't want to wear a mask, how will they deal with quarantines, and who is eligible to opt-out of classroom teaching.

"I wish I could accommodate the choice of every district employee but we're in the business of educating children and must prioritize requests or we will not have enough instructors to open our campuses," Fennoy said.

Members of the Palm Beach County Classroom Teacher's Association showed up to express their concerns directly to the board.

“The only thing that seems clear to employees, it’s if you can’t come back, we can’t pay you,” Don Pierson said.

A number of board members also expressed their frustration over a lack of communication.

"Perception is real people are feeling at this point in time that we're not communicating adequately to let them know exactly what is going on within our district," Board Member Marcia Andrews said.

Board members said the only way they're going to get everyone through the doors of schools across the district is by proving to students, parents, teachers, and staff they've done the leg work to make them feel safe to do so.