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Martin County teachers want schools to delay opening or remain virtual

'I can't social distance 20 desks,' teacher says
Posted at 1:24 AM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 01:27:20-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Teachers in Martin County are pleading with school board members to either delay the opening of schools or remain 100% virtual.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 4 p.m.

"I can tell you that right now, my school will be running at near-capacity," teacher Kim Davis said.

Davis said it's simply just not safe to reopen schools for traditional learning in August.

"Three-hundred students in every lunch, 300+ students, unmasked, no social distancing, in a cafeteria," Davis said.

Davis and several other teachers are planning to attend and protest at Tuesday's school board meeting.

"I'm asking school officials, who is making this call?" Davis asked. "Where are you getting your guidance?"

WPTV contacted the Florida Department of Health in Martin County, which said it can only provide guidance to the school board and cannot order it to close the schools.

The Martin County School District said the commissioner of education's executive order requires brick-and-mortar schools to be open five days per week and offer traditional learning to all students.

When asked about why Palm Beach County is able to delay the start of school and remain virtual, Martin County school board officials cited that Palm Beach County is still in Phase One of reopening and that Martin County is in Phase Two.

"I can't social distance 20 desks," teacher Janet Pace said.

Pace said that all Martin County teachers received information from a town hall on July 15 that 85% of students had opted for traditional learning.

"We feel like major companies are not going back," Pace said. "Why are we putting kids in a classroom?"

Parents have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to complete the commitment form opting in their children for remote learning.

"If you have 900 together, that is a recipe for disaster," Davis said. "It is a super-spreader event."