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Parents, Teachers Oppose Palo Alto Unified's Plan to Reopen Schools

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Hundreds of teachers and parents opposed a plan to reopen schools in the Palo Alto Unified School District starting Oct. 12, a decision the district is making Tuesday.

The district wants to start seeing kids inside these classrooms by next month, but many say it’s just too risky for students and staff.

The father of a first grader at Escondido Elementary School sent a letter, signed by 400 other parents, asking the Palo Alto Unified School District Board to rethink its plan to reopen schools on the 12th. Specifically, they want to delay it until more teacher and parent feedback is incorporated into the plan.

Parents aren't alone. A majority of the district's teachers are reluctant to return to class next month, according to the latest Survey by the Palo Alto Educators Association.

“Close to 90% of our elementary school teachers who are going back in two weeks say they are uncomfortable going back in person,” said Teri Baldwin, president of the association. 

She says many teachers are concerned about the health risks to students and staff.

“Our numbers are 300% higher than what they were when we closed back down in March so how is it safe to go back now when it’s much higher?” said Baldwin.

Some parents say they've been given two bad choices: either commit to all distance learning for the year or an in-class/hybrid plan for the rest of the school year. 

Many say they have to commit by Wednesday and they simply don’t have enough information to decide.

The school board is expected to decide Tuesday night whether or not to push forward with a plan to start bringing kids back into the classroom in two weeks.

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