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School leaders and parents react to CDC's suggested school guidelines

One suggestion is keeping the desks six feet apart. (WJHG/WECP)
One suggestion is keeping the desks six feet apart. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: May. 21, 2020 at 5:24 PM CDT
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The CDC's suggestions range from making students and staff wear facemasks, staggering arrival times, keeping desking six feet apart, and eating lunch in the classrooms.

They are all suggestion, but Bay District Schools leaders tell us they could be hard to enforce and quite expensive.

"I don't want to say they're impossible, but close to impossible. Because our classrooms, our schools, our cafeterias, even our buses, aren't necessarily built to employ those types of restrictions," said Bay District Schools Chairman, Steve Moss.

Moss is also a father of two in the school systems. His concerns are shared with other parents in the district.

"What do you do with the kids when they get to school? How do you keep them separated? Lunch? How do you do lunch? How do you stagger lunch like that when you can only have so many kids in one space," asked April Wilkes, a parent of two students in BDS.

School board leaders do not have set plans for re-opening, but they're trying to find out what is realistic.

"Think about you know you're average kindergarten class, you're doing really good if you can get them to raise their hand and to sit in a desk. I think it's unrealistic thinking they're gonna wear a mask all day, wear it properly," said Moss.

For teachers, these suggestions could make an already difficult job more challenging.

"Our biggest concerns as teachers is to make sure that we can still build that community and have that personal experience, and you know standing six feet apart, that gets harder to do those things," said Adriana Swearingen, a fourth grade teacher at Northside Elementary.

The CDC lists virtual classes as the lowest risk, but to parents, continuing only virtual classes is a high risk for social skills.

"If they don't have that personal one-on-one interaction with friends, we're gonna see a difference in the future I think. You're not going to have many people talking to people," said Wilkes.

Parents are unsure of what the future for schools will look like.

"I don't know. I'm scared to send my kids to school with a large group that you never know," said Wilkes.

But kids remain fearless and eager to see their friends.

"I miss seeing like people smile and laugh and the funny faces that we make in class at each other," said Wilkes daughter, Olivia.

School board officials tell us they're taking everything day by day and hopefully things will be better by August.

They also tell us they're hopeful the individual school districts will be able to make the decision for the community, instead of a blanket decision for the state by the Department of Education.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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