SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As local school districts join others across the state in bringing students back into the classroom amid a pandemic, safety concerns continue for students and teachers.
One state representative told reporters earlier this week she had established an email address (email@example.com) where students, parents and teachers could let her know their concerns.
Some are referring to it as an email for whistleblowers.
Rep. Beth Moore (D – Peachtree Corners) told us Thursday she now has over 700 emails, and the majority of them are from teachers.
Earlier this week, she read some of the emails while taking part in a news conference called by state Democratic leaders.
“No masks are required, I am scared to death and we start on Thursday,” Moore read as she indicated that email was from a high school teacher.
“Here’s another one from Bulloch County, Georgia,” Moore said. “Our superintendent seems to take the hold your nose and close our eyes approach and hope for the best.”
Bulloch County School Superintendent Charles Wilson told us the district “does have safety protocols in place that we believe are adequate and appropriate.”
“However, we also respect that individuals are entitled to their opinion,” he continued. “We always encourage employees to express their concerns through organizational channels.”
The district also provided information indicating that a majority of parents (54%) said in a survey late last month that they wanted their children to return to traditional learning in the classroom.
On Monday, Aug. 17, the Bulloch County School District begins classes for the 2020-2021 school year, also offering virtual classes. We received a long list of safety protocols the district says will be in place to keep school offices and buildings as “safe as possible.”
Moore told News 3 that common themes in the emails revolve around the issue of districts that have indicated they have written safety plans and protocols but that some teachers have doubts that administrators are going to follow through and implement them.
She cited the situation where a quarantine in Cherokee County quickly occurred after just a short time when schools were opened there.
“There are no reasonable assurances that these protocols will be adhered to,” Moore told us.
Moore says she plans to keep the email address and said Thursday she was just reading one regarding a school employee who indicated they were resigning. She said she had also heard from a bus driver concerned about safety.
“The people who will suffer from this are the people we should hold near and dear to us which are our teachers and our children,” Moore said during the press conference earlier this week.
During that press conference, a number of leaders blamed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for schools re-opening too soon. The governor’s office sent a statement regarding that criticism:
Governor Kemp has afforded broad discretion to educational leaders to allow for local decision-making. We will continue to provide support through supplies and public health guidance as we fight to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.
News 3 also checked with Savannah-Chatham County Public School System which is resuming with all virtual classes for the time being regarding safety questions and or concerns from teachers.