A promotional video created by a Florida school district to illustrate what reopened classrooms will look like has been blasted by parents who say it feels like their children are being sent to ‘prison’.
Last week, the School District of Manatee County – located on the state’s west coast – posted the two minute-long clip to Facebook.
The clip, titled ‘Reopening Plan 2020-2021’, shows teachers in protective lab coats and face shields, and features a montage of students walking sadly down hallways while spaced six feet apart.
Another poignant moment from the video shows kids sitting alone at lunch tables in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Manatee County’s schools are set to reopen on August 18, with students able to return on a full-time basis.
Thousands of other schools across the country are also reopening next month, meaning scenes from the Florida video are a taster of things to come for millions of students nationwide.
The Florida video sparked outrage, with one viewer railing: ‘That looks like a prison for kids!’
Another wrote: ‘Glad they plan on opening for the mental health and wellbeing of the young minds but this is completely ridiculous. If they are going to wear masks than the separation and jailhouse rules should be nullified.’
Meanwhile, a third viewer said they felt sorry for kindergarten students whose first experience at school would be greeting teachers in face masks.
‘New kindergarten students who already have such anxiety about a new school and classroom will feel so comfortable and safe when walking in to this environment…NOT! Children of this age need hands on learning experiences and social interaction with others,’ they blasted.
Meanwhile, one Florida mother took to TikTok to share her thoughts about the school district’s new promotional video.
‘I’m not gonna lie, it looks a little apocalyptic, a little Hunger Games-y!’ sheclaimed.
According to the school district’s website, students can attend physical classes five days a week or continue learning from home on a full-time basis.
A mix of in-person and virtual learning will also be on offer, meaning that schools may be more crowded on some days than others.
Parents say they’re still confused as to how things will work logistically.
‘Will the same applications apply to Middle and a High School? What is the plan for switching periods?’ one asked.
‘Will lunch times be staggered ? Are students going to have a shorter amount of time to eat?’ another asked, according to Buzzfeed.