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‘Is this a good idea?:’ Orange County Parents weigh in on reopening schools

Orange County School Board offering three options for parents

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – As Savi George played a version of Monopoly, America’s longest board game, with her two daughters Tuesday afternoon, she kept her eyes on the TV streaming what could be one of Orange County’s longest school board meetings.

The Orange County School Board met to finalize the three options for parents as they look to reopen schools next month. As of 6 p.m., the meeting was still going on.

"I really am curious to hear because I'm on the fence with the decision," George said. "I'm hoping after listening to the meeting today my decision will be swayed a little bit more."

George has two daughters, an incoming second grader and an incoming kindergartner. She said at the end of last school year, her oldest did not do well with distance learning.

"When we did it it, the screen was giving her headaches from just one to two hours, so we had to buy her special glasses," George said. "It was really hard for her and I don't know what it's going to be like with a kindergartner."

That’s why she’s leaning toward face-to-face learning, with protocols, that is.

"Narrowing it down, the face-to-face option for our family is what works," George said. "But definitely limited class sizes. I want to know what the protocol is if somebody does test positive. Are they going to shut down the whole school? So there is still a lot of questions."

In the interview she then scaled back, saying the rise in cases in the state is also concerning.

“But now you when you see the cases rising, again that just brought me back to square one like ‘Is this a good idea?,’” she asked.

For mother Amanda Kossina, it’s a hard no. Her first born is headed into kindergarten.

"I'm stressed out already at the thought of my first baby going off to school, but I'm also stressed out and worried about everything going on and the safety of my daughter and the teachers."

Kossina believes virtual school will be the best option for her child, asking district and state officials to at least hold off on reopening until the number of cases goes back down.

"I feel like if they can push back the school year to have the right precautions in place, if they can get the PPE, they can get the right training for teachers and give everything time and patience, I feel like our kids and teachers and families will be safe," Kossina said.

Orange County School officials said Tuesday once they vote on the final plans for reopening, they will send that to the state for approval. It will then come back to the district to decide how parents will choose and register their students for the upcoming school year, set to begin in a matter of weeks.

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