LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The superintendent of the Little Rock School District issued an apology to his teachers for the lack of COVID-19 safety conditions.
In an email, LRSD spokesperson Pamela Smith said the apology “was directed to employees and the apology was related to professional development.”
However, the biggest issue was having large groups of people together in the same room without a mask mandate.
LRSD superintendent Mike Poore said he’s sorry for how the recent learning day for teachers played out at several schools.
“I’m sorry that we put anybody in a bad place,” Poore said.
A late evening apology from Poore was posted to YouTube after what some teachers and parents called a “fiasco” of a professional development day.
“None of those sites are to blame, really you gotta come back up to the top on this one, folks, and say the superintendent didn’t do as good of a job as he should have on this matter,” Poore said.
In a Facebook post, a LRSD teacher posted a photo showing a group of teachers gathering in the same room on Tuesday morning, despite the school district not having a mask mandate, upsetting some parents.
“This is putting you in danger and you need to stand up and walk out of those rooms,” parent Veronica McClane said.
Throughout the morning, teachers, staff and parents called on Poore and the school board to make some changes.
“This is unacceptable,” McClane said. “Unacceptable. None of y’all need to be put at risk like this.”
To create a safer environment for the staff, some large groups were broken into smaller groups that afternoon.
“The flexibility should have been thought out ahead of time in a more clear fashion and all I can do is again is apologize for that,” Poore said.
Teachers also expressed frustration with the fact that they were told to meet in person when the presentation was virtual.
They said this is something they could have done from the safety of their own classrooms.
Poore said the Little Rock School Board will vote on a mask mandate Thursday night. He also added that more than 70 percent of the district’s staff is fully vaccinated and most staff members are choosing to wear masks.