Parents deadline to choose virtual school passes as Pinellas Co. teachers plan to rally for safe reopening

Coronavirus

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – On Monday parents waited for hours at Pinellas School Headquarters hoping to get their children signed up for online class and beat a 5:00 pm deadline set by the school district.

For families who missed the deadline, their child will now be automatically enrolled for in-person traditional class this fall.

The Pinellas County School District said the workaround for parents who missed Monday’s 5:00 pm deadline is to call your child’s principal directly.

Many parents tell 8 On Your Side the whole process to choose an option for their child has been a struggle.

“It’s frustrating. Aggravating. We’re going to be here all day long. This line hasn’t moved,” said Pinellas County parent January Reeves. She’s one of the dozens of parents who waited hours in a long line Monday trying to get help securing virtual school for her 9, 12 and 15-year-olds.

“I spent at least a half-hour on the phone trying to call this place [the Pinellas County school district headquarters.] All I got was a voicemail, you couldn’t even leave a voicemail because it was full. And you can’t get a hold of the schools. Can’t get a hold of anyone else,” said Reeves.

The deadline was 5 p.m. to choose one of three options – traditional school, MyPCS online, or virtual school. As of Friday, only 30% of families signed up and more than half chose MyPCS online.

Britanny Johnson says it’s too risky to send her two kids back to school.

“It’s just too risky! The numbers are not good, it’s too risky to send these kids back into school and I don’t think they really have a plan to be ready for them,” said Johnson.

“People are going to get sick and it’s avoidable,” said Science high school teacher Dr.Christy Foust.

She’s one of many teachers frustrated with the reopening plan and plans to rally for 100% virtual school until there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the county for 14 days ahead of Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Dr.Foust is asking all teachers, parents, and students who agree to join her.

“From my perspective, this is life or death. I’ve had folks ask my worse case concern. My worst concern is having to go to the funeral of one of my students or one of my colleagues,” said Dr.Foust.

Dr.Foust said the rally will be COVID-19 conscious with masks, social distancing, and a car caravan. Foust encourages others to join their rally for a safe return to campus.

The school board votes Tuesday at 5:00 pm if to push the start of school back.

Teachers, students, and parents will gather at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, at the Pinellas County School Board Administration Building at 301 Fourth St. SW, Largo, FL 33770. They ask anyone coming to wear a mask (over the nose), bring a sign, and be ready to maintain six feet of physical distancing.

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