“We all want it to be normal, we all want our regular lives back and I have nothing but sympathy and empathy for people who do, but we’re not living in normal times,” he told CNN. “And that’s the thing, people are just choosing to live as if it is, until it’s impossible to ignore.”
Chambers, who fears the coronavirus will spread throughout the area, which is about 30 minutes north of Atlanta, says he saw this coming. He, along with other district parents, received a letter from Cherokee County School Superintendent Brian Hightower in mid-July announcing a 77-page reopening plan.
“One day later it was voted on, with limited opportunity for the public to participate,” Chambers said of the vote, which he said was limited to those who were able to show up last-minute. “When the committee that created the reopening plan was created there were no teachers on it and teachers were not given a chance to review it before it was published for the public.”
In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, Cherokee County called Chambers’ claims false.
“Attendance at the meeting in person was open to 90 citizens and was attended by 60, with half of those speaking during public participation; an additional 6,000 watched the meeting online,” Barbara Jacoby, chief communications officer with Cherokee County wrote in the statement.
She added, “Two committees, one made up entirely of teachers and staff and one made up of parents, partners (Department of Family and Children Services, local hospital, foster care group home) and staff, gave input on the plan recommended by the Superintendent.”
Chambers became a well-known local activist after he wrote an open letter to the superintendent blasting the reopening plan.
“I see little evidence that guidelines from (the US Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health) were a guiding factor in creating these policies. In fact, your plan seems to repeatedly soften or ignore their recommendations altogether while seeming to envision a ‘best case scenario’ when it comes to young people complying with these changing rules and the teachers’ ability to monitor and enforce them,” wrote Chambers, a game designer.
The plan now in place in schools means students in some schools do not social distance and some adults do not wear facial coverings. Chambers believes students going in-person are at risk and is keeping his 10-year-old and 4-year-old at home.
High school closed
CNN reached out to Superintendent Hightower, who declined an interview. The school district’s chief…