JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With only two days left before Duval County students return to class, teachers and stakeholders on Tuesday held a final demonstration, urging school district leadership to start the school year with a fully virtual format.
The rally, which got underway around 4 p.m. outside the Duval County Public Schools headquarters, was just the latest in a series of demonstrations that have been held over the summer.
Tuesday’s demonstration was organized by leaders of a Facebook group called “Duval for a Safe Return” with two goals in mind: to convince the mayor to take Jacksonville back to phase one of the COVID-19 recovery strategy and to convince DCPS administration to start the year with no in-person option.
Before the rally, News4Jax asked one of the organizers of the event if this will make any difference with the school year set to begin on Thursday.
“We need to still be proactive and trying to make sure that safety measures are really met within the schools themselves. We have heard there have been a few cases already within the district of COVID, so we’re trying to push for maybe a last minute, you know, can we go fully virtual? Can we do something last minute to make sure that we’re still safe?” said Stephanie Szymczyk, school counselor at Stanton College Preparatory School.
Tuesday’s demonstration was a motor march, so the demonstrators got in their vehicles and caravanned over to a downtown park, which the Jacksonville City Council voted to rename James Weldon Johnson Park, for a rally at 5 p.m.