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Pinellas County teachers, parents asking school board to end simultaneous teaching

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Pinellas County parents and teachers are feeling frustrated and defeated, saying their kids are being shortchanged because teachers are working with students in the classroom — and those learning from home — at the same time.

“The first week of school, I actually had three breakdowns, and I’m not normally like that,” said Marie Hamm, a Pinellas County teacher.

Hamm is among the many Pinellas County teachers trying to teach students face-to-face, and on her computer screen, simultaneously.

“When people feel like they can’t meet the needs of their students, it makes it really hard to go through the day,” said Hamm.

She’s joining hundreds of others in asking the school district to end simultaneous teaching.

“I’ve worked other jobs… and at no point have I felt so incapable of getting done what it is that I’m expected to get done,” said Patrick Mugan, a Pinellas County teacher.

Mugan is spending his Labor Day weekend grading papers, but he says we will be going in tomorrow still behind.

“I teach U.S. History and World History in 6th grade. Every 6th grader takes that. Why is there not one teacher at my school that’s doing all online, one teacher that’s doing face-to-face,” asked Mugan.

Parents and students are frustrated, too.

“They feel like they’re not learning as much as they normally would,” said Amanda Loeffler, a parent of three children in Pinellas County schools, two of which are in simultaneously taught classes.

Amanda Loeffler started a petition to end simultaneous teaching, now garnering over 2,100 signatures.

“They’re [teachers] now expected to be two teachers, probably the aid, and then the janitor, and then the health department, you know, telling people ‘you need to keep your mask on,’” said Loeffler.

They’re hopeful the school board will listen to their concerns during the Pinellas County School Board meeting on Tuesday at 5 p.m., and they’re asking all parents and teachers to voice their opinions.

To view Amanda Loeffler’s petition, click here.

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