The Gulfport School District plans to reopen in just under two weeks, giving parents and guardians the option to send their children to school for classroom instruction or to learn online.
A number of parents, grandparents, guardians, and community members are concerned over the options presented.
“We want the schools to reopen, but at what cost?” The question lingering on the minds of these concerned citizens in Gulfport who gathered Friday at the 19th Street Community Center, many of them parents and grandparents of students in the Gulfport school system. Rochelle Durr is one of them. “I really don’t think school should start right now. I think they should wait 2021 until they have had ample opportunities work out all of the nicks-all of the different concerns we as parents and grandparents, as a community have.”
Resident Angela Ellis said, “Do we expect to go to school-everybody goes to school, and everything’s going to be fine? Everybody who goes to school is going to come out and nobody’s going to get this thing, and nobody’s going to die from it? We know for a fact that students and teachers will die from going back to school this year.”
Sandra Wyche has two high school aged grandchildren in the Gulfport School District. While they are opting for the online alternative for the school year, she’s concerned about those who will actually attend school and believes the health risk for them and those beyond the classroom is gravely serious. “There’s a COVID spike in Gulfport. Now, they’re shutting down bars. If you’re going to shut down bars, shut down schools.”
Resident Bettie Ewing said, “We would like the Superintendent to just stop, and let’s get together. Let’s make some collective decisions on how we’re going to return to school. Right now it is too dangerous.”
Attorney Gayle Tart has issued a letter to Gulfport Superintendent Glenn East and other state and local leaders, questioning the school district’s reopening and damage mitigation plans. This group has been involved in conversations with the superintendent.
A public meeting to address these concerns for all those in the Gulfport School District has been set to take place at the school district’s administration building, located on Pass Road in Gulfport at 5 p.m. on August 3rd, three days before the new school year begins on August 6th.