SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Despite the rain Monday morning, dozens of religious leaders from Savannah came together to stand-against the reopening of Savannah-Chatham County Public schools.
While parents have fought to get their kids back into the buildings, the Savannah Alliance of Pastors is opposed to the reopening of schools in Savannah-Chatham saying its too soon and not safe.
“We stand to give voice to the voiceless, to proclaim without equivocation that we believe it remains both unsafe and unhealthy for children, teachers, staff and their families to forcibly have to return to schools at this time,” Garden City United Methodist Church Pastor Ashley Randall said.
About 38 percent of SCCPSS staff returned to buildings Monday for the first day in their hybrid reopening plan. Faith leaders feel that most staff staying home sends a message the district and board need to consider.
“I mean, if the numbers say the majority of the citizens within the school system say we want to be there then maybe that’s what should happen, but if the majority says we shouldn’t then numbers don’t lie. I think that wisdom says we look at what is really being said by actions and then make a decision that may be a tough decision for some but it’s really a decision that’s held by the majority,” Mosaic Church Pastor Andrew Young said.
They feel only a few voices have been heard through the reopening process, and all must be considered during this trying time.
“We just want to let the board hear from another set of voices,” Pastor Randall said.
As they shared all the things they stand for, the Savannah Alliance of Pastors said they also stand with Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett.
“We haven’t seen something like this in over 100 years, so we are all playing it a little by ear and we’re all doing the best we can literally moment to moment. Dr. Levett has been a consulting voice in many of things that we have done, but most importantly she has given grace filled leadership to the entire school district thinking both of the health and safety of staff, teachers, students and administrators, but also or a greater concerns for the larger communities,” Pastor Young said.
Pastors say they understand the struggles of some families, and have programs to help safely through RISE, but say we must follow the science. They want the school board to reconsider their opening plans and say Monday’s demonstration is just the beginning of their advocacy for safety.