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Thousands sign petition to pause reentry for Guilford County Schools

On the heels of the holidays, teachers express their concerns about a Tuesday return to the classroom for grades 3 through 5.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — As of Monday, nearly 2,400 people signed a Change.org petition that calls for Guilford County Schools to delay reentry on the heels of the holidays. 

This, as grades 3 through 5 are set to return Tuesday morning. It's a last-ditch effort to pause the back-to-school plan according to the petition's creator Brooke Horan. 

"It's not too late we can still say we can go remote tomorrow and teachers will still be safe, students will be safe and still be getting a great education," Horan said. 

RELATED: 'It's not an easy decision' | Some Guilford County Schools parents sending kids back to school, others opt to keep students remote

After Thanksgiving, GCS went all-remote for one week as a precaution. Teachers WFMY News 2's Jess Winters interviewed questioned why the district didn't do the same after Christmas and New Year when people travel and gather.

"I feel like we should have been given the same virtual remote week at home just to make sure everybody is good and healthy so we can have a safe return," said a teacher who wants to remain anonymous. 

The group of educators feel the COVID-19 metrics in the county are too high, though the district has strayed away from following a strict threshold.

The Guilford County Department of Public Health reported a 10.7% positivity rate Monday. 

"I feel like part of the frustration is the mixed messages from the district," teacher Michael Praylor said. "At the start of the pandemic, there was a strong support for teachers' safety but somewhere along the way that message shifted and it's less consideration. "It's not that teachers don't want to teach in the classroom, our preference is to teach in the classroom because we love what we do, but at what cost?"

RELATED: 'It's devastating': Parents react to Guilford County Schools decision to delay middle school reentry

Despite the last-minute plea, grades 3 through 5 will be returning to the classroom Tuesday. Meanwhile, in-person classes for middle school students was delayed by two weeks.