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'Safety first' | Winston-Salem/Forsyth County teachers petition for Board of Education to reconsider reentry plans

The district will discuss phased re-entry for 2nd through 8th grade students at a meeting Tuesday, but some teachers say school leaders need to hit the pause button.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Triad school districts continued reentry plans on Monday. First graders returned for the first time to the classroom at Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools. 

The district will discuss other grade levels at a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, but some teachers said school leaders need to hit the pause button.

RELATED: How Triad school districts are handling the pandemic and reentry

"Every school that has reopened, while these numbers are high, potentially opens the doors to hospitals and funeral homes," said Tripp Jeffers, a Parkland High School teacher. 

He said adapting to remote learning might be one of the most challenging obstacles he's faced in his 26 years of teaching. He said he'll gladly continue with eLearning - knowing that his students and fellow teachers will stay safe.

Jeffers put out a petition and YouTube video, calling for the Board of Education to adopt certain measures to keep everyone safe until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available. 

"It really is unclear whether the school board has any metric at all that it is looking at right now, and the cases are skyrocketing," he said.

Given the rising case numbers, we asked Dr. Bruce Swords with Cone Health on Monday what course of action he'd recommend. 

"They have to figure out how they will keep people masked, and socially distanced, while at school," he said, "That seems like a very heavy lift. And the best course of action, at least right now, might be to consider virtual learning if at all possible."

RELATED: Whitaker Elementary School moves to online learning until end of November

A spokesperson for the district told WFMY News 2 that at Tuesday's meeting, the board will have another opportunity to look at the data and at their plans - then weigh decisions on how to move forward. No matter what the Board decides, "district staff stands ready to move forward.. in the best and safest way possible."

Find more information about the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools COVID-19 response, and case dashboard, by clicking here.