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With the start of school delayed, Pinellas County teachers look for solutions to unanswered questions

Coronavirus

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County is delaying the start of school, citing coronavirus concerns. But not everyone thinks it’s enough, many teachers say the delay leaves more unanswered questions.

“I certainly recommended as superintendent that we delay the opening of schools,” said Pinellas County Superintendent, Dr.Michael Grego.

Dr.Grego says they’re delaying school for the well-being of the community, to help teachers prepare for MyPCS online and to prepare traditional logistics like buses and lunches

“Right now I’m angry,” said Travis Lueth who teaches reading at Pinellas Secondary School. “[The district is] delaying our pay and giving us the option of a payday loan. You’re delaying us and we still have no plan?’ said Lueth.

Lueth said even pushing the start date back from Aug. 12 to Aug. 24 they are still less than a month from the start of school. He said he’s frustrated by the amount of important unanswered questions.

“What is the district’s plan for identifying, notifying, and quarantining staff and students when they contract or are exposed to the virus in the classroom?,” Lueth asked of 8 On Your Side.

So,we took that question directly to the Pinellas County Superintendent, Dr.Michael Grego.

“That’s a great question and I can tell you that is the next really heavy lift over the next 2-3 weeks,” said Dr.Grego.

Dr. Grego said it’s a regional statewide issue that they’re collaborating on with local medical professionals.

“That is a joint decision, a collaborative decision and we’re working on those protocols as we speak. I mentioned it to the board [Tuesday] night because that is a huge next step which also supports the notion of delaying the start of school,” said Dr.Grego.

We brought that answer back to Lueth, who was underwhelmed.

“Obviously not a straightforward answer. What’s most frustrating is that he’s treating it like it’s a new issue for them and something that needs to be handled in the next 2-3 weeks for this delay but this is an issue they’ve known about for months,” said Lueth.

The superintendent said they have planned for as much as they could, like PPE and cleaning supplies for the school but had to wait to hear back from families about how they wanted to return to school.

Dr.Grego said as of now they know about 60,000 students plan on returning to traditional school and they’re sending out a survey with more detailed questions for families, trying to determine details like who will drive or take the bus.

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