“I think what most of us are upset about is there is no plan,” said Beverly Beyer, a science teacher at Renfroe Middle School.
Under the revised plan employees will continue to work remotely, including those who returned to work in school buildings this week. Students in the special education program could still return to classrooms Oct. 19.
Dude said new facts about the coronavirus led to his about-face, from the number of infections to details about the risk of airborne transmission.
“We are very concerned by the recent reports that this virus is aerosolized,” he told his school board.
Numerous members of the public spoke in favor of postponing.
“We would like to thank Dr. Dude for recognizing that the data do not support returning to school,” said one of them, Julie Gutman. High school student Gabriel Richardson said he saw “great merit in the new analysis” by the superintendent.
Dude bemoaned the lack of clear guidance from the state and federal government about when it is safe to open schools and when it is necessary to close them.
Board members supported Dude’s decision to delay reopening. Jana Johnson-Davis was “very pleased.” Lewis Jones said there would be consequences for some children for whom online learning does not work but said the fears expressed about COVID-19 were “rationale” and “reasonable.”
Jones said science has not yet produced enough information to calculate the risk or adequately mitigate it. Schools have been building an airplane on the fly, he said, “and then we discover we need a submarine.”
More information about the plans going forward are expected from the district Friday.