Paulette Anders said if she was a member of the Frederick County Board of Education, she would have supported a vote to bring students back into school buildings.

For her, the sooner kids can begin returning, the better.

“I do believe that starting hybrid, with giving families their own option to stay virtual should they choose, is a safe way to reopen and I think you can do it with [kindergarten] through second, sixth, and I would actually say 12th, because the seniors are in a pivotal time in their lives,” Anders said.

Anders is an official write-in candidate for the board of education race, running to fill one of three open seats.

She is a proponent of keeping a virtual option for families who don’t yet feel safe returning, and she would like to see teachers who want to remain virtual paired up with those groups of students.

“You have to respect what people feel is safe for them and their families. There are teachers that are living with people who are immunocompromised ... there are families who don’t want their students to go back to school,” Anders said. “I want to recognize them too and say, 'Hey, I respect your decision' — and thank goodness we live in a country where you’re able to make that decision for your family.”

But she also feels that there is a disconnect happening between teachers and students through the virtual model.

“I am hearing way too many stories from families that their students are not getting the 3.5 required hours of instruction,” Anders said.

Anders would like to see teachers return to school buildings and teach virtually from their classrooms in order to have more resources in hand and be able to collaborate with other staff members.

Additionally, Anders said she thinks it would be helpful for the school system to have a COVID-19 dashboard that reports out numbers of positive cases similar to those being used by colleges across the country.

In an ideal situation, she would also like the temperatures of students taken upon arrival, but she isn't sure if it’s logistically feasible.

“At some point, you do have to trust teachers, staff and families. Especially families who want school to be in session, you have to trust they will do the right thing,” Anders said. “I am not naive, there will be families who don’t do the right thing. However, we will never ever, ever go back to school if we are going to wait for zero risk.”

When asked if she was concerned about a possible surge of the virus as the weather gets colder, Anders said there is reason for concern. However, much more is known now about the virus than in the past, she said, and she feels schools now have a better handling of the situation and are prepared for potential outbreaks.

“You don’t have to close down for the rest of the school year. You could close down for two weeks, ask everybody to stay at home, practice very safe protocols and then try again in two weeks,” Anders said. “Are we going to have cases in the schools? Absolutely, and is it tragic if we lost one student? Absolutely...but we need to get this hybrid plan in place.”

Regarding racial equity, Anders said she thinks FCPS needs to hire more diverse teachers, but admitted that she is not familiar with some of the other steps the school system has taken to address the issue.

When asked how conversations about race should be handled in the classroom, Anders said she is not a proponent of bringing politics and political groups into the classroom.

“Sometimes things get more political than they need to be...I do think older students in the 11th and 12th grade are ready for some more frank and real discussions, but the fact of the matter is, in the public school system there currently, I don’t feel, there is an appreciation for diversity of thought in the classroom,” she said.

Anders declined to say whether she thinks modern-day racial advocacy movements like Black Lives Matters are political groups.

She said she is a proponent of the school resource officer (SRO) program and believes schools are safer when officers are stationed in school buildings.

Anders said she is not familiar with concerns that students of color have expressed about the program, but as a board member, she said she wants to be a voice for parents, students and teachers of all backgrounds.

The achievement gap, Anders said, is only getting wider as students remain out of school, which is why she is pushing for a return. When asked how the gap could be closed once students return to buildings, Anders did not have any specific ideas and said she would like to learn more about the issue.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

(20) comments

KellyAlzan

Remember when tony C thought he could get elected with his last name that no one can pronounce let alone spell by write-in???? LOL LOL LOL

KellyAlzan

This is a great example of how any unqualified person can drop their name in a bucket and become a candidate for an important seat.

This lady knows nothing about the position and the system.

Two other people like this come to mind. That know nothing about what their campaigning for. Daddy Donald. And Chuck Trumpkins.

Truth.

C.D.Reid

This is a great example of how any unqualified person can drop their name in a bucket and become a candidate for an important seat, Plumbum? You mean like the way you, a highly unqualified, prejudiced candidate, have dropped your name in the bucket to run for the important seat of county sheriff?

ValerieDale

Apologies in advance for the length of my thoughts. It is as though she is not only a last minute write-in candidate, but seems to be a single issue candidate, who is wrong on the topic and limited in her understanding of it. She just wants schools open again.

Moving from virtual to hybrid requires more than wishful thinking and platitudes. There is not one parent or teacher or student that I know that doesn't want to 'get back to normal' and go to our actual physical schools.

BUT we want to do it SAFELY, not just for our students and teachers and staff, but for our WHOLE community! We do not not yet have that in terms of our resources, at least that I have heard of.

Most epidemiologists and public health experts recommend not only that the rate of infection be under 5% for 14 days, but also that there be PPE for teachers and staff, temp checks for students and staff as they enter the building, rapid tests for students and staff, social distanincg at all times, learning in small pods that can be contained quickly, having enough contact tracers to quickly trace and quarantine anyone who gets sick, and hepafilters for buildings/classrooms.

83,000 new cases across the nation yesterday alone! Many places in which schools have been open long enough for community spread. If you look at the states not on fire with the virus they are in our region of the country that has opened slower and with more caution, and that includes schools, that are for the most part all virtual.

Let's make sure we continue to do this the safe and healthy way, and not let a small group of people with loud voices push us into making bad choices.

MD1756

In case someone missed it, here is an opinion from a recent graduate: https://www.fredericknewspost.com/opinion/letter_to_editor/a-message-to-fcps-parents/article_a3cf9c0c-1012-5349-80f5-b073fae40456.html

shiftless88

This is a classic case of someone getting into the race for one specific reason while knowing little else about the organization. And clearly knowing little about the specific reason she is running, as well.

HappySeller2014

Good observation, shiftless88. One issue platform here it appears.

zane3

Thank you for stepping up and being an advocate for our children! There is a way to bring them back safely. In addition, I agree that seniors do need to be a priority. They deserve to experience at least a portion of there last year in school. It’s the foundation for their young adult lives. I would argue that all high school age students can come back. If adults can successfully spend 8 hours in an office building (even without major upgrades to hvac systems) so can young adults. 14-18 year olds are mature enough to know the rules and follow them or deal with the consequences by not getting to participate. The psychological damage that is happening to these teenagers is preventable and unforgivable.

As far as a tracker, check out this tool a high school student created with $0!! http://covidschooltracker.com/ The federal government has offered grants for technology that FCPS has failed to take advantage of.

As for the other people commenting on this article, ignore most of them. It’s the same 6 or 7 people that like to attack and instigate with no real solutions or skin in the game.

HappySeller2014

Nice try zane3. You sound like a helicopter parent.

Children don't deserve things. You must raise your child to learn the importance of EARNING things. In addition, it is wise for parents to teach their children perserverance is a strength when adversity strikes.

I have a lot of skin in this game, as I have FCPS children. They are not being psychologically damaged. They are being responsible, caing, persistent, involved and accountable.

If you think the senior year of high school is the foundation of young adult lives, you gotta get out and see the wider world. High school diplomas are worthless nowadays if you want to earn a stable living. Life starts after high school. If it does not, you are mopping floors in a fast food restaurant somewhere. And, as for 14 year olds, there is a reason they cannot vote, drink, smoke, join the military or hold a job. Yet you argue they are mature enough to follow rules? Bunk.

When I look now, this will be the seventh post at this time. Of the six previous, five are unsupportive of Paulette and only your post seems in favor. Zane3, you are jumping into the dumpster fire. I recommend you jump off this trainwreck to nowhere, as it is clear public support and opinion opposes you and Paulette.

Persist, zane3! Stop resisting.

zane3

Bully much? Get over yourself.

HappySeller2014

Join us zane3. Bully? Facts are facts. Truth hurts. Persist, don't resist!

shiftless88

Zane; for 99% of human history and even now across maybe 50% of the world kids do not experience a "senior year" yet they seem to have a very strong foundation for their young adult lives. You seem so linked into the single system that you seem unable to grasp that there are many successful models of school across the world.

MD1756

zane3, everyone has "skin in the game." If infection rates increase because of opening schools and more restrictions have to be put in place, everyone loses.

Anyone who gets sick because schools are opened up at a time of increasing infections loses (and everyone except maybe hermits have that potential to get sick). Everyone who pays taxes has skin in the game. In fact, those who have no children have more financial skin in the game because of the income tax structure makes them pay more for education by the mere fact that they have no children placing a demand on services from the state and local governments by having their children going to public schools. I certainly value my life over the unnecessary risk of having children go back to face-to-face learning until we've made more progress. At least this time you are not citing questionable sources of information suggesting it is safe to go back to school. You're just stating your beliefs which you're entitled to. I would argue that while 14 - 18 year olds may be mature enough to understand the rules, that doesn't mean they'd follow them. Additionally, if by omission you're suggesting that those under 14 aren't mature enough to be expected to understand the importance of following the rules, then you've just argued against younger children going back to school. If 14 - 18 year olds are mature enough to 100% follow the rules, do young people suddenly get stupid and immature when they go to college? We've seen what has happened at a number of colleges. It is not worth the risk. Even if education wasn't conducted online, you could put off education for another six months to one year. Once someone is dead, you can't bring them back six months to one year later.

bpswp

Frederick Co is a Red country. Go anywhere in Frederick and observe the number of people, young and old alike, who are not wearing a mask. To even think that high school students, many Red bred, will wear a mask 7.5 hours a day is ludicrous. Additionally, there is no way to social distance in a high school of 1600 students without a hybrid model. During class change, just observe once how close students are passing from one class to the next. We must protect our staff, faculty members, and all of our students.

phydeaux994

There are slightly more registered Democrats in FC than there are Republicans last I heard. So Frederick County is Purple, on it’s way to true BLUE. There aren’t many more behind the CD/bosco/Jenkins generation and they’ll all be down in 👹🔥with me soon enough.👺

bpswp

Ms. Anders has no understanding of what must happen in a school to reopen. Once teachers start to get Co-Vid, there are no subs to take their place. Imagine a high school with 1600 students, TJHS for example. If only half of these attend, 800 will be in the hallway at any one time during class changes. Even if the classes dismiss at 50% during class change, there is no where to go when they pile up for their next class that hasn't dismissed yet. A distance of 6 ' will only allow for about 12 students, if that many, in class. MANY classes in FC exceed 30 students. Art classes can have as many as 40. I don't envy any principal who will try to make all of this work when schools are able to open. Teachers in FC are working tirelessly to make online learning effective. Let us trust them to do their job. In the meanwhile, parents like Anders, want to put teachers and students at risk as the numbers of Co-Vid continue to increase in FC. I wonder if Anders is one of the many parents I've heard say as a normal summer winds down, "I can't wait for these kids to be back in school."

KellyAlzan

Pretty foolish and irresponsible, Paulette

HappySeller2014

No vaccine. No pallative treatments yet. Cases now exploding in much of the US, way above any previous levels.

This is not FCPS' fault. Yes, every organization has its underperformers. But when large amounts of children are not participating, or skipping school, it is parents' fault. My children are thriving through adversity. Suck it up buttercups and place the blame where it belongs. Most teachers I know of are trying quite hard. I just wish my children were in virtual schooling six hours a day, not 3.5.

How many of us see our children jamming school buses through next spring? Not my children.

Persist, don't resist. A nationwide pandemic will steamroll you, unless you buckle up and take care of yourself and your family. Feeding them. Clothing them. Sheltering them. Protecting them. And yes, educating them.

Paulette is about eight months late and who knows how many dollars short. Jumping in as a write-in, and getting Republican party support, reeks of desperation. Go through the normal process, including the primary, and you gain respect. Anyone can throw themselves into this FCPS school board election, even my crazy uncle.

In my business world, you better show up five minutes early to any of my executive meetings, or the door is shut and locked on you. This is how the real world works.

Mjeb123

👍

Crab0721

[thumbup] thank you!

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