The Florida Department of Education may have approved the Manatee County School District’s reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic, but parents are unhappy about the promotional video that detailed how the students will be kept apart.

In the video, students are seen wearing masks and social distancing in class, in line, and in the cafeteria. Meanwhile, teachers were dressed in protective suits and face shields.

One parent, TIffany Jenkins, whose children are enrolled in a nearby school district, shared her reaction in a TikTok video and described the reopening plan as “apocalyptic.”

“It made me sad how different the experience would be,” Jenkins told BuzzFeed.

“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 from their friends, it’s heartbreaking.”

Meanwhile,  Erica Howard, whose children attend school in Manatee County, doesn’t believe the district has come up with a solid plan.

“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,” she explained. 

“Schools need to open for parents who have to work and can’t be with their kids during the day but what they’re projecting is unrealistic,” she continued.

Following backlash from the video, a rep for the school district insisted that safety measures will differ for each school.

“Images and video are intended to show examples of the new procedures in place. Schools are not one-size-fits-all. In this case, the lab coats were requested by staff as an added layer of protection to keep them safer and make students feel safer,” the comment read.

“Also, each classroom is different, so desk configuration will be subject to class size.”

CDC to release new guidance on safe reopening of schools CDC to release new guidance on safe reopening of schools Photo: Alexandra-Koch - Pixabay