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Florida school district shares 'apocalyptic' back-to-school video plan for pandemic, and parents are furious


This is sad

Image source: Facebook video screenshot

The Manatee County School District in Florida shared a back-to-school video last week to educate parents and teachers on what school reopenings could look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video has been met with significant criticism from parents and social media alike.

What's the video all about?

Social media influencer Tiffany Jenkins, a parent of young children, shared the video to her social media channels over the last week, calling it "apocalyptic," and comparing it to an M. Night Shyamalan movie.

The promotional back-to-school video features teachers and children wearing masks during instruction. Teachers wearing shields and lab coats explain how social distancing will work when district children return to school.

In the video, masked students can be seen marching single-file with their heads down and their hands clasped behind their backs while a narrator says, "Children will be randomly screened for signs of illness."

Elsewhere in the video, children can be seen sitting at a far distance from one another in both classes and at outdoor lunch tables.

Manatee County schools are set to reopen on Aug. 18.

At the time of this writing, researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that there have been at least 461,379 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state of Florida, with at least 6,586 deaths attributed to the virus.

What are people saying about it?

Jenkins told BuzzFeed News that she believes such conditions will be extremely detrimental to the kids' educational experience.

"It made me sad how different the experience would be," she said. "It feels like a punishment for the kids. That makes me sad. The kids are kids. The idea that they have to focus on distancing, or to keep their masks on to be so far away from their friends, it's heartbreaking."

Another parent told the outlet that the district's plan is unrealistic.

"The fact they expect this to happen — expecting kids to sit at tables away from each other, having fields between them, especially preschoolers and kindergarteners ... I didn't think it was realistic," the parent said.

The promotional video, which was first shared on the district's Facebook page, prompted a volley of negative comments.

One parent wrote, "That looks like a prison for kids!"

Another added, "Glad they plan on opening for the mental health and wellbeing of the young minds but this is completely ridiculous. If they are going to wear masks than [sic] the separation and jailhouse rules should be nullified."

"New kindergarten students who already have such anxiety about a new school and classroom will feel so comfortable and safe when walking in to this environment," another parent wrote. "NOT! Children of this age needs hands on learning experiences and social interaction with others."

Another concerned parent added, "We will be home schooling. I sypathize [sic] with families this is not an option for. [S]ounds like government needs to step up and subsidize families to stay home with their kids. where they should be in the first place instead of working 4 jobs to stay afloat and kids being raised by schools and daycare systems."

"Prison camp...cool!" a parent blasted. "Part of school is interacting with other kids. These kids miss each other, this is going to be impossible to control and if they have face masks on they should be able to interact. The camps have been doing it all summer!"

You can read more remarks here.

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