BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Palm Beach County School Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy said there is no chance that students will return for school — as usual — when the school year starts in August.
“The health and wellbeing of our students and staff is the Board’s top priority,” said Fennoy. “There is no one size all solution.“
The comment was made as the Palm Beach County School Board initiated a work session to discuss school restarting options. Dr. Fennoy said that current infection numbers in Palm Beach County make starting in-person learning impractical. Any “physical” options, he said, would not look anything like years past.
The meeting then paused to start 2 hours of voicemail message playback from parents, teachers and Palm Beach County residents who shared their opinions over the past week.
Among the first callers: a hospital administrator who said it is absolutely unsafe to return to school right now without knowing more about how COVID-19 interacts with children, a faculty member who said there is no way to keep kids safe — and distanced — in Palm Beach County Schools, a woman who implored the District to keep schools closed based on the science of COVID, and a parent of two children in a middle school — she asked the District to continue with “distance learning” only.
Before Dr. Fennoy’s comments and the phone message playback, the Herculean task that opening schools — in any form — requires, took center stage in a seemingly innocuous way.
School Board member Dr. Debra Robinson followed up on a request she previously made to bring every sink into compliance with CDC guidelines.
“Can you make sure that when you hit the thing in the bathroom that the water runs for 20 seconds?”
The CDC suggests washing hands with warm water for no less than 20 seconds. There are 180 schools in the Palm Beach County School district. Each, of course, has multiple bathrooms with many sinks.
The meeting is expected to continue well into the evening, July 8, 2020.
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