NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — Some teachers and parents in Newport-Mesa Unified School District are pushing back against plans to reopen schools for in-person learning next week.

The district is utilizing a hybrid model that has children going to school part of the day and leaving for lunch.

“That’s really hard for working parents who have to leave their job to run to drop them off and bring them back,” said parent Taryn Wool-Smith, a mother-of-three school-aged children, said.

When her kids aren’t physically in school, she says they’ll have to learn at home independently, which is yet another challenge.

Teachers in Newport-Mesa Unified share the concerns and their union has given a cease and desist demand to stop in-person instruction, which is set to begin Tuesday for kindergartners through second graders and special-ed students.

“Safety and we’re also talking about instruction because that impacts our teachers’ work schedules and instruction impacts the students so were very concerned that issue as well,” said Nicholas Dix, the Executive Director of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers.

The union claims the district hasn’t answered questions about several coronavirus prevention guidelines, including protective barriers and personal protective equipment (PPE), along with details about instructional materials and shifting from morning to afternoon curriculum.

NMUSD said in a statement that the district is implementing several layers of health and safety procedures to keep faculty, staff and students safe.

“Schools are preparing their classrooms with plastic screens, arranging desks, visual reminders of healthy hygiene and social distancing, ad making hand sanitizing and face masks available,” district spokesperson Annette Franco said.

In-person instruction begins September 29 for TK-2 and Special Day Classes (TK-12), followed by grades 3-6 on October 1 and middle and high school students on October 12.

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