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Pflugerville ISD community members claim district's plans are misleading; new advocacy group supports families

"PfISD Stay Virtual, Stay Safe" is a new Facebook group addressing concerns and questions from Pflugerville ISD students, parents and teachers.

AUSTIN, Texas — Some Pflugerville ISD parents and teachers are upset with the school district's communication during the pandemic, calling it misleading and confusing. They've created a new advocacy group called "PfISD Stay Virtual, Stay Safe" to get their concerns across.

"I just finished my fifth year and I had to resign a month ago when I realized, like, this online distance learning wasn't going to work for my family because my spouse is also a public school teacher and I have a son with autism," said Kimberly Carroll, a former PfISD teacher who helped create the group. 

Carroll is now trying to focus on her son and helping other teachers figure out the school district's plans. She said she submitted a formal grievance with the school regarding, what she calls, transparency issues. 

Credit: Kimberly Carroll

In the form, it asks, "Please describe the decision or circumstances causing your complaint (give specific factual details)." Carroll responds, in part, saying, "The lack of communication and transparency from the district to employees, the school board, and the public."

"Every question that the teachers asked is like, 'I don't know. I don't know.' It's still up until this moment, it's just so many unanswered questions," said Carroll. 

Carroll hopes something good will come from it. 

"We've received conflicting, contradictory information throughout this process. We've asked questions and received different answers to those questions from different people. When we've pointed out inconsistencies or concerns we have with the plan, in many cases, we've been told, 'We'll get back to you,'" said Dan Dawer, a PfISD teacher.

On PfISD's website, it shows Sept. 14 is the first day of in-person learning. Dawer and Carroll said teachers aren't ready for it. 

"We want to make sure that our health and our safety is prioritized. And if we actually want to be able to return safely. The only way we can do that is by getting COVID-19 spread under control in our community," said Dawer. 

A spokesman for PfISD said in a statement: "We acknowledge that there has been constantly changing information and guidance on the pandemic at state and local levels, and with each change we have adapted our strategies and processes. We appreciate the more than 80 staff members who worked over the summer on our Return to Learn Task Force. We’re very proud of our teachers and staff who are working now to make this a smooth transition as we begin our phased re-entry plan to meet the needs of our students and families."

PfISD has its fall 2020 plans on its website

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