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Collier County teacher worried about proposed school year plan

What might the next school year look like in Collier County? Districts leaders will reveal the plan on Wednesday.

Julie Abalos, an eighth grade teacher in Collier County, said they will be required to wear face masks, social distancing will be the norm, and lunch and breakfast for children will happen in their classrooms.

While plans are not finalized yet, Abalos said she doesn’t know if it will be enough when students start to fill the classrooms, and parents have some of the same concerns.

“This definitely is the first year I don’t feel safe in 35 years,” Abalos said. “Students and teachers are a part of the experiment, and no one knows what the outcome will be. And I’m not ready to be in that experiment. I feel like I’m being forced.”

Abalos gave WINK News a quick look at some of the guidelines the school district sent her.

“In the document that’s coming out, what concerns me is that it says in here that classrooms and school building furniture will be frequently cleaned,” Abalos said. “I don’t know what frequently means. I would have thought that classrooms and school furniture would be cleaned every day?”

“I know masks will be provided and goggles, and I’m grateful for that. Teachers will also be having children in their room for breakfast and lunch, and the masks will be off while they are eating.”

There will also be social distancing, but she doesn’t think it sounds promising.

“The social distancing in my room wouldn’t even be 12 inches,” she said. “There is no way with 24 desks in my room.”

That makes Amy Perez worry for her son.

“I’m concerned about him getting sick because he is asthmatic,” Perez said. “So he does have underlying conditions.”

Perez and other parents are wary to see what the school year will look like.

“In a perfect world, I’d love them to take every precaution necessary,” said Ray Stuart, the father of a high school senior. “It’s going to be difficult.”

The Collier County School Board will have a workshop discussion at 4 p.m. Tuesday and will be releasing official plans Wednesday.

Abalos said parents need to step in and express their concerns.

“Parents need to go to the school and look at the classroom that their child will be in and see if it those students will be safe.”

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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