Parents say school leaders not doing enough to determine if schools should reopen in Cumberland County

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — During the Cumberland County School Board meeting Tuesday, statements from families who want schools to reopen were read aloud for 30 minutes.

“Our school board is having to hear us now because we were able to give our public comments,” said mom Michelle Hallas.

Hallas works in the medical field and says just as safety protocols are followed there, they can be followed in schools as well.

“Everyone is open, they’re wearing their masks and that is exactly what our schools need to be doing,” Hallas said. “They are essential and they need to be open for children.”

Some board members in a subcommittee meet weekly with the health department, but the entire group hasn’t met with the director in more than a month, which concerns Hallas.

“They are not doing what they need to be doing in meeting with the health officials to make that determination or whether or not our schools reopen.” Hallas said.

“You’re not going to have much of a school if half your staff is gone sick,” said teacher Kim O’Callaghan.

She said she is happy with the board’s decision to remain virtual at least through January.

“There are so many unknowns right now,” O’Callaghan said “This is an impossible situation and they’re doing the best they can with it.”

The board plans to meet with with Cumberland County Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green later this month.

“We’re not yet where we need to be in order to be able to effectively contain the virus,” Green said. “We still have evidence of community spread, so it’s still spreading rapidly throughout our community — it’s everywhere.”

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