Franklin County School officials, teachers speak about reopening


FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — With more than 7,000 students and 1,200 staff members at the Franklin County Public School District, the decision for students to head back to class in-person 100% with a virtual option Superintendent Dr. Mark Church said was not made lightly. 

Dr. Church said employees were consulted, “We did poll our faculty and staff, and more than half of them said that they wanted to go back with a hybrid approach.” 

Some faculty have been vocal about wanting to teach 100% virtually, including eighth-grade special education teacher Stephanie Cook, who explained, “Since they have made that decision, it now comes on me to begin to talk to my principal and let them know that I can’t return to the classroom. So that probably means I will have to quit.” 

Dr. Church said the administration is working with employees who do not feel comfortable coming into the schools to find better options, “We’re working with individuals to try to make sure that they can still work and be part of the system.” 

Cook said during a tearful video posted Monday that she fears for her students and  colleagues  safety, “I don’t want to a few months down the road be sitting there hearing that someone has died, and knowing that I could have done something to prevent that.” 

Cook is standing firm in her position of wanting to teach 100% online, even if that means choosing between the school district she loves, and her family. 

“We all want to serve kids, so they know that my heart is in a place where I’m trying to help my colleagues, my students, my family. And so they’re trying to work with me, but it’s incredibly difficult,” she stated.

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