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'[No] dress rehearsal for this': Palm Beach County superintendent prepares for in-person learning to resume

60,000 students to resume in-classroom learning
Posted at 7:13 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 20:19:36-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County is the nation's 10th biggest school district. That includes 175,000 K-12 students and more than 13,000 teachers.

Now, the curtain is set to rise on Sept. 21 for a renewal of brick-and-mortar learning in Palm Beach County's public school district.

The task and logistics are monumental in our coronavirus landscape.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Back to School | To The Point

WPTV NewsChannel 5 anchor Michael Williams spoke to Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy about the challenges ahead.

As of Friday, roughly 60,000 students and their families are planning for in-classroom learning, but that number is likely to grow considerably in the weeks ahead.

"We haven't had a dress rehearsal for this, no school system has across this country. So, what I mean by that is we are going to put our plans together, and we're going to execute on the current plans that we have. But as soon as those children arrive, I am sure principals will be making decisions to adjust based on the populations and things they actually get to see in real-time," Fennoy said.

'[No] dress rehearsal for this': Palm Beach County superintendent prepares for in-person learning to resume

Concerns and questions abound. Many parents want their children back in a classroom environment, but many others do not.

Teachers are worried the reopening is rushed and ill-advised from a safety perspective. School administrators across Florida are trying to assure parents, teachers and staff that every precaution is being taken.

"I think what I would say to them is I understand how you feel. I understand that challenge. I think there is a reality where we are in the state of Florida and Palm Beach County. You know we have an executive order from our governor. There are three counties left in the state of Florida that have not returned to brick and mortar -- Palm Beach, Dade and Broward. And let's be clear, there are families choosing to come back. And so again, our role in this is to provide that education. So, we have done everything in our power, and we will continue to adjust and modify things to accommodate both families that choose to stay home and families that choose to come into the building," Fennoy said.

'I understand that challenge': Superintendent address resuming in-person learning

From new school safety protocols to broader perspective, watch the full interview with Fennoy on "To The Point," Sunday at 10 a.m.

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