Educators rally outside the Guilford County Board of Education building ahead of meeting

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Chanting and holding signs, more than a dozen educators dressed in red called for a pause on Guilford County Schools’ plans to reopen.

“It’s the worse of two evils,” said Shellie Young, a PE teacher at Montlieu Academy of Technology. Young said she wants to be back in the gym with her students, but she isn’t convinced it’s safe.

Young is a 20-year cancer survivor. While she feels the worst is behind her, she knows her immune system could be compromised.

“I’m a little apprehensive,” she said. “We have old buildings with poor ventilation and we don’t have enough room to safely social distance kids.”

Standing alongside members of the Guilford County Association of Educators, Young said she wants to make sure the reopening process is safe.

The phased reopening plan brings back pre-K-5 students five days a week, with grades pre-K-2 returning Oct. 20 and grades 3-5 returning Oct. 26 pending positive health trends.

“Kids are missing crucial learning time and classroom time and social connection and all the support they need from their schools, but the kids that are being hurt the most by this are also the kids more likely to go back into classrooms where there’s been mold, ventilation issues, broken HVAC,” Kirstin Cassell said.

Cassell helped organize a letter-writing and petition campaign to call for more specific plans to reopen safely, and necessary technology and repairs.

She stressed that the more than 300 signatures were meant to encourage equity in Guilford County Schools.

Other parents who spoke with FOX8 said they are ready for schools to reopen.

Katlin Holcomb is a parent at Pleasant Garden Elementary, and said based on the health precautions she’s seen for her youngest child, she feels confident to send her kids back.

“Everybody knows that kids that age absolutely thrive on that face to face and being in front of the screen is just not sustainable long term,” she said.

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