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GBAPS holds public listening session before Board of Education vote

GBAPS held a public listening session livestreamed on Youtube ahead of the Board of Education's vote tomorrow night regarding how to reenter schools this year.
Posted at 10:27 PM, Aug 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 23:27:26-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Tomorrow, the Green Bay Area Public School's Board of Education votes on the district's recommendation to start the 2020-2021 school year completely off-site with virtual instruction. Tonight, they heard from parents, teachers and community members on all sides of the issue: how to return to school.

The most cited complaint was that the district's recommendation does not align with the survey that showed a majority of parents would send kids back to in-person instruction.

"If the survey is essentially a vote of your student body, because my daughter also filled out a survey, that indicated that learning at home was detrimental to her, why are we not following the layout that parents and teachers both supported?" one father said.

Many parents cited that 80% of teachers polled by the district said they would return to school, but the handful of teachers that called in Sunday night overwhelmingly supported the virtual model.

"If we do return to on-site learning in September, I can say with certainty that the five- to eight-year-olds I work with will have an impossible time maintaining appropriate social distance, wearing PPE correctly, and just barely making it through the day in the bizarro on-site learning we've seen recommended," one district teacher said. He mentioned that he would be pulling his own children from in-person instruction and opting for virtual this year as well.

The livestreamed Zoom call had 80 registered participants that intended to speak tonight, although some could not be reached when their time came. Board of Education members and Superintendent Steven Murley expressed a sense of civic duty in hearing from the public before tomorrow's vote.

"To be honest with you, that's why we wanted to have this session tonight," Murley said. "We thought this was a good opportunity for them to hear from a good cross spectrum of the community. They've got a good 24 hours before the next board meeting; they have the opportunity to assimilate it and think about how this fits in with the things they've already heard and the information that they already know."

"Many, many people realize that whatever option we pick is not going to be ideal for a lot of people," board member Brenda Warren said.