Debate ongoing for how public wants SCCPSS to proceed

Savannah Alliance of Pastors asking SCCPSS board to rethink returning to class

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - While there are still a lot of decisions being made, some community members continue to plead with the school board and district to change their current plan.

The debate for how and when Savannah-Chatham should return to the classroom has been highly contested in our area. Now less than a week out from phase three that discussion continues.

“We’re urging and we’re begging the school board to rescind your decision. Let’s go back 100 percent virtual,” said Pastor Thomas Sills with the Savannah Alliance of Pastors.

“Face to face not only logistically is very important, but for him, it’s very important. He wants to be face to face," said SCCPSS mom Miki Skelton.

Miki Skelton’s kindergartner returned to his class in the hybrid model early this week. She says she understands the serious nature of COVID-19 after being hospitalized with it earlier this year but says we cannot let that stop us from getting our kids back to school.

“I understand the severity of it firsthand, I do, but the impacts to a lot of my friends economically, the impacts to mental health in this community has been much greater than the impact that I had even," said Skelton.

She feels the science shows schools that have returned have fared well, but in contrast, the savannah Alliance of Pastors says looking at Savannah-Chatham’s data cases are going up. They have a school closed and others showing positive.

“When we see this uptick with 3,500 or less students in the school, what will they look like when we have 35 thousand? We don’t have to see how that will look just rescind and let’s go back to 100% virtual until the science says it’s safe to reopen," said Pastor Sills.

The pastors feel a sure sign our community isn’t ready to return to school is that only 35% of the teachers have come back to the classroom.

“If you don’t have enough staff, you can’t properly house the students so I think when you hear your staff speaking loud a great boss or supervisor pays some attention to that and understanding we’re just not at that place," said Pastor Sills.

Some parents however feel it’s time to require teachers to return.

“Teachers need to be told they are coming back to work there’s no other job in this county, in this state in this country where you can just pick and choose whether you want to go back to work or not. It is time that teachers go back to work," said Skelton.

Miki says while she’d love to have in-person classes five days a week. Her goal is to encourage the board to begin that planning for January. The school board’s next meeting will be on November 4.

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