Teachers want to return but they want their safety concerns addressed too.

Dear Superintendent Dr. Greene, Honorable Chairman Jones, and esteemed DCPS Board Members,

We are extremely excited to reconnect with our students to begin the 20-21 school year. However, as art educators at the elementary and secondary levels, we have the following abbreviated concerns:

1. Because we either serve every student in the building or within our program, we do not understand why masks are not being made mandatory in class, especially with the well-proven data that details the level of risks according to mask usage. When masks are not reciprocal it raises the risk of contraction, and breaks the consistency of habit, as well as sends a message that teachers’ and classmates’ lives are not valued.

2. While we completed the survey in May, Covid-19 data has significantly changed. We have not been given options to safely teach from home as the schedule allows, for example on the designated day when students will be out of the building (secondary).

3. We want to ensure that we, and our students have the tools necessary to deliver a high-quality, engaging art program. Sharing communal supplies as typically practiced, does not follow CDD guidelines. This can be remedied by assembling home kits for students to utilize as needed.

4. Because of the proposed plan to return to school In-Building, especially after most have been in volunteer isolation for several months, we are concerned about being exposed to asymptomatic settings.

5. We have seen public displays of adults behaving poorly; if the proposed health recommendations and requirements are not somehow included in the Student Code of Conduct, these practices will not be taken seriously by our students.

We thank you for your time and consideration for the opportunity to voice our concerns. If the health and safety of all DCPS stakeholders cannot be guaranteed, we strongly urge that the opening of the 20-21 school year begin entirely via Duval Homeroom.

Respectfully Submitted,

Michelle Farah
District 1
Middle School Art
Member of Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team

Sherry Griffith
District 5
Elementary Art
Member of Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team

Kathy Schmidt
Districts 3 and 6
Elementary Art Itinerant
Member of Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team

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