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'It can't be done': Duval County school chairman reverses course on 100% virtual instruction

"We can't, realistically, get the computers to the students in time for school to start." -- School Board District 5 Chairman Warren Jones.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Parents and teachers are concerned about school reopening in this pandemic environment.

On Monday Warren Jones, chairman of the Duval County School Board District 5, offered another option but it would be short-lived. Jones was drafting a resolution to send to the Florida Department of Education requesting permission to go 100% virtual instruction for the first nine weeks.

He now says, after looking at the district's technology plan, it cannot be done.

"We can't, realistically, get the computers to the students in time for school to start," Jones said.

Educators fear the worst once schools reopen and they're making their voices heard. Jones said he is listening.

"Please be patient, things are changing quickly," he said.

So far, teachers have expressed nothing but disappointment in the current plan.

"Community transmissions are high right now," said Alex Ingram.

A teacher for over six years, Ingram predicts the current school reopening plan will lead to school closures because there will be positive COVID-19 cases.

"We will have to shut down," he said. "It is not a matter of 'if,' it is a matter of 'when.'"

Rolline Sullivan is a parent with four children in the district, she too is disappointed with the school reopening plan.

"Right now Duval is not in a place we believe to have the school open," she said.

Sullivan said she and her husband have made the decision to use Duval Homeroom for virtual instruction for the first nine weeks. 

"It is no brainier our kids are staying home," she said.

She said until the COVID-19 numbers are declining, it is not worth the risk.

"Nobody who is looking at the science of it thinks it is a good idea to open up schools," she said. 

Jones said they are tuned into the concerns. For example, there are ongoing conversations between the teacher's union and the superintendent regarding options for educators with underlying health conditions.

Duval County Public Schools are set to reopen Aug. 20. 

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