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Superintendents talk about challenges COVID-19 pandemic brings to fall semester in virtual meeting

Dr. Allen with Beaumont ISD said some teachers are still on the fence about whether they want to go back to the classroom

BEAUMONT, Texas — With health and safety on their minds, education leaders met virtually Monday night to discuss plans and concerns for the upcoming semester.

Beaumont ISD superintendent Dr. Shannon Allen says even with all the safety measures in place, concerns are still high.

"Our teachers are concerned, we have teachers who are still on the fence on whether or not, especially those who have the option to retire, on whether or not they want to take a gamble with their health based on the protocols that we have put in place," Allen said. 

Dr. Allen says right now, their main focus is making sure they're able to maintain instruction should the school have to close down if someone tests positive. That includes making sure teachers are able to switch over to remote instruction if possible.

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"If not, if that teacher is ill then of course we'd have to put a substitute, but then there's a concern about not having enough substitutes," Allen said. 

Concerns in Port Arthur are focused on making sure students at home are staying on track and making it to the end of the year. Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie discussed the challenge that online learning brings.

"How are we going to ensure that every students logs in on time and takes advantage of all day learning," Porterie said. 

Both districts say with so many unknowns, there are still many questions that don't have answers yet.

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