PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County community members and Bay District School students held a Zoom call to voice concerns to school officials on Saturday.
With schools reopening on Tuesday, local doctors are concerned about the potential possibility of COVID-19 outbreaks.
“Young people will die,” Dr. Albert Mapp said. “And students at local high schools and our local grammar schools they will die.”
Students also voiced concerns about teachers and fellow students who are unwilling to wear masks. Some mentioned that teachers asked them to pull masks down last year because they were unable to hear them.
Last year, students had the option to go to school remotely. However, this year that is no longer an option offered by the district.
“It’s not really any leeway for students to be allowed to stay home,” BDS students Trey Griffin said. “We don’t have Bay Virtual anymore; these are all things where it was taken away from us.”
School officials said that students are required to be in classrooms, where there is a better learning environment.
“Both the state Department of Health and DOE has asked all counties across the state, has urged the importance of in-person learning,” BDS Director of Student Services Kara Mulkusky said. “And again there are penalties being mentioned for either those that close school or mandate masks.”
However, Dr. Mapp said he lays awake at night, concerned about the risks that could arise from the return to school. Medical officials are concerned that school reopenings could lead to large COVID-19 spikes throughout the area.
“This is no time for B.S,” Mapp said. “There’s no time for dancing around this, there’s no time. I’m sick and tired of talking about this.”
Parents will have the option to decide whether or not their student wears a mask this coming school year, in an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis.