A Florida School District's Video Promotion For Its Reopening Is Being Called "Apocalyptic" And "Sad"

One parent told BuzzFeed News she doesn't know what the "right" move is, but she and others are sure this is not it.

A school district in Florida is facing a lot of online pushback for a promotional video it shared last week informing the community about what reopening its schools will look like.

In fact, the video from the Manatee County School District drew widespread ridicule and horror across the country after a parent who lives in a nearby town shared the video to TikTok, where it's since gone viral. In her video, Tiffany Jenkins, who has three young kids, called it "apocalyptic" and like "an M. Night Shyamalan movie."

The video that the school district first shared on its Facebook page shows teachers in shields, masks, and lab coats, students in masks, and various ways they'll be distanced in the classroom and at lunch.

One parent of a child enrolled in Manatee County's school district told BuzzFeed News she was "really sad" upon watching it and doesn't believe the reopening plan is "realistic."


I feel like I'm living in an M. Night. Shyamalan movie dude.

♬ original sound - jugglingthejenkins

"The fact they expect this to happen — expecting kids to sit at tables away from each other, having fields between them, especially preschoolers and kindergarteners ... I didn't think it was realistic," said Erica Howard, 30, who has three young children.

"Schools need to open for parents who have to work and can't be with their kids during the day but what they're projecting is unrealistic," she added.

Jenkins, who posted the TikTok, told BuzzFeed News she saw many parents posting the video to Facebook and complaining. Her kids go to a different school district nearby.

"It made me sad how different the experience would be," Jenkins said about watching it. "It feels like a punishment for the kids. That makes me sad. The kids are kids. The idea that they have to focus on distancing, or to keep their masks on to be so far from their friends, it’s heartbreaking."

The online reaction to her sharing the video was similar, if not even stronger.


According to the school district's website, there are currently three reopening options for parents: five days a week of in-person learning, a five-day hybrid of learning at school and at home, and five days of virtual classes.

Howard said schools are scheduled to reopen on Aug. 18, but she and other parents are still unclear about some details, like how many students have elected to return and how they'll manage the size and traffic of them all.

"They said what they will do with lunchtime is all the grade levels will be eating lunch, but will it be staggered? Are they going to have a shorter amount of time to eat?" she asked.

Howard said she's also concerned about teachers having to "spend their whole time disciplining kids about keeping their masks on and disciplining them about keeping their distance, and less time on learning."

BuzzFeed News has reached out to the superintendent of the Manatee County school district with some of these questions.

On its Facebook page, the district is still receiving a barrage of criticism from parents who are upset by these "creepy" and "sad" new standards.

Both Howard and Jenkins acknowledged how difficult decisions like these are to make for school officials, and they themselves aren't sure what the best course of action is either.

"I've been so confused on what to do and what is right," said Howard. "It's the hardest decision as a parent right now. No matter what you do, you don't want to desensitize the virus and who's at risk, but you don't want to neglect your child's emotional health either."

"With the way the world is going, anything can change in a day," added Jenkins, who said she also has not made any firm decisions for her children as far as returning to physical school. "We got [my son] enrolled if things get better — if in a month, numbers improve and it's safe for kids to go to school, then we might do that.

"No matter what you find there's going to be an argument for it. I foresee the comment section of this article popping off."

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