‘Teachers are in tears’: Hillsborough educator terrified about upcoming school year

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Many teachers were in tears Thursday as they were told big changes are ahead as kids start the new school year in Hillsborough County.

Those teachers say they’re worried and scared.

Students will get just one week of online learning in Hillsborough County before having to return to a brick and mortar format.

The plan the school board voted on last week would have meant no brick and mortar classes would be held for the first four weeks of the year.

For many educators, this was the news they did not want.

“I am very worried for my friends, and I’m very worried for students,” said Hillsborough County teacher Amanda Fessenden.

For her, the news hit hard.

“There are teachers in tears every day that are going to that building, that are scared. They should be,” the longtime teacher explained through tears.

She is terrified about the return to brick and mortar amid a pandemic.

“These are my friends, and they are my family,” she said.

Hillsborough Superintendent Addison Davis visited Tallahassee on Tuesday to speak with state education leaders.

School board member Karen Parez told 8 On Your Side Thursday that Tallahassee rejected the district’s plan and is left frustrated and disappointed with the state.

“It makes me so amazingly nervous.for our students, for our staff, for our teachers,” said board member Perez.

This local education leader has consistently said, this is a recipe for disaster, one that leaves her sad and angry with leaders in Tallahassee.

“It feels like they’re removing the voice of the people, although I know many parents want to return to the brick and mortar, but there are teachers that are not being equipped,” said Karen Perez.

That’s exactly what school board members fear the most – that teachers don’t have what they need to keep kids safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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