Florida school district video showing post-Covid-19 classrooms upsets parents: 'Looks like a prison for kids!'
The schools in the district are set to reopen on August 18 and students will return on a full-time basis
At a time when the US is seeing a socio-political tussle over reopening of schools in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a promotional video made by a school district in Florida has caused an outrage among the parents, Buzzfeed reported. The video, which illustrates how reopened schools will look like, has been slammed by parents who feel their children are being sent to “prison”. The schools in the district are set to reopen on August 18 and students will return on a full-time basis.
The School District of Manatee County, located in the Sunshine State’s west coast, came up with the two-minute clip on Facebook last week. Titled ‘Reopening Plan 2021-21’, the video showed teachers donning protective lab coats and face shields and the students walking down the hallway while maintaining a distance of six feet between them. The video also showed kids sitting alone at lunch tables to abide by the social-distancing norms.
Thousands of other schools across the US are also reopening in August and whatever is seen in the video from Florida could be a reality in other states as well. Nearly 4.5 million people have been affected by Covid-19 in the country while more than 152,000 have died. In Florida, 6,586 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University tracker. The parents were left disappointed with the video that came from Florida with one saying: “That looks like a prison for kids!”
“Glad they plan on opening for the mental health and wellbeing of the young minds but this is completely ridiculous. If they are going to wear masks than the separation and jailhouse rules should be nullified,” said another.
'Sad to see kids starting school life wearing masks'
Another Facebook user said: "New kindergarten students who already have such anxiety about a new school and classroom will feel so comfortable and safe when walking in to this environment...NOT! Children of this age need hands on learning experiences and social interaction with others."
"The fact they expect this to happen — expecting kids to sit at tables away from each other, having fields between them, especially preschoolers and kindergarteners ... I didn't think it was realistic,” said one mother of three young kids, the Buzzfeed report added. She also asked: “They said what they will do with lunchtime is all the grade levels will be eating lunch, but will it be staggered? Are they going to have a shorter amount of time to eat?”
The school district has kept option for both physical and onlines classes valid. Its website has said that while the students can attend the classes physically five days a week, they can also learn from their home on a full-time basis.
Concerns were also raised over the teachers having to spend more time disciplining their kids about keeping their masks on and taking other safety measures which means the actual time for learning will become less, the Buzzfeed report added.
Some parents asked whether such norms can be maintained in middle and high schools where the number of students are far more and observing social-distancing measures could be far from possible.
President Donald Trump and his aides in the White House have been pushing for reopening of schools, a move that many experts feel is being deliberately done to ensure that the parents get time off to join work and help the economy turn around. However, the president has been slammed for pressuring the schools to reopen while canceling his party's convention in Jacksonville because of the spike in cases of Covid-19. Even St Andrew's Episcopal School, the institute in Maryland suburbs that Trump's youngest son Barron attends, has decided against fully reopening in the fall despite the president's push.