DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — There were cries to reopen Central Bucks schools in Doylestown on Saturday after the school district announced this week it’s moving away from a mixture of in-person and virtual options to remote schooling to begin the academic year.
Central Bucks School District school doors will be closed to begin the year.
“Some kids have learning disabilities, some kids are scared to be in school because of COVID-19 and that’s OK too,” Lauren Feldman, with CBSD Parents Reopening, said, “The parents should make that decision, not the school district.”
In July, the district had asked parents to choose from in-school and virtual learning, and 81% of them voted for an offered hybrid option at the secondary level, according to CBSD.
But in a letter this week from Superintendent John Kopicki, he says the district learned it doesn’t have enough teachers to staff the schools after opt-outs for medical and personal reasons.
“We want a choice. We’re not telling anyone to do anything,” Feldman said.
“We are so grateful for all that they do and for doing this and starting virtual to keep us safe and keep our community safe,” Sana Mahmoud, a senior at Central Bucks High School South, said.
Meanwhile, across the borough in front of Central Bucks High School West, students rallied to support the teachers who said they are hurt and disappointed by some of the comments by others in the community.
“I definitely have been experiencing a little bit of heartbreak,” Michelle Jacobs, a teacher at Warwick Elementary School, said.
Jacobs has taught at Warwick Elementary School for nearly a quarter-century. She supports teachers who have taken leave but also understands there’s no return to the classroom until those vacated positions are filled.
“It doesn’t seem impossible to find teachers who could take those positions while we sort out the risks,” Jacobs said.
Eyewitness News asked the school district if it is actively seeking teachers to fill voids in order to reopen schools part-time. The district has yet to respond.
“I understand the majority of teachers want to be back in their classrooms,” Feldman said. “We need to work together to make that happen.”