Within 20 days of the reopening on October 14 of Miami-Dade and Broward schools, it is still unclear whether there will be enough teachers to be able to teach students in person, and as the days progress the concerns add up.
In Miami-Dade County since March 20, when the start of the coronavirus pandemic, 390 teachers have resigned and 117 have retired. Add to these are those who start filling out applications to apply for work licenses.
Some Miami-Dade teachers are worried about going back to school, and it’s a clash between two issues: the pandemic and a lack of school funding.
Teachers and staff in public comment have pointed out broken A/Cs, poor ventilation, & overcrowded classrooms. https://t.co/TRh7Hs5mI7
— Brooke Shafer (@BrookeShaferTV) September 22, 2020
There are 16,000 teachers in Broward and Miami-Dade, 28,000, but so far it is not known whether there will be enough for reopening.
Karla Hernandez of the Miami-Dade teachers’ union said I don’t know what the county’s teacher deficit will be until the classrooms reopen, but explained that there is already a significant lack of teachers throughout the state of Florida, under normal conditions.
The Broward teachers’ union holds a meeting on Thursday with the Broward School Board, which discusses, among others, this issue.
The Palm Beach case
Hernandez also indicated that he has a colleague in Palm Beach who informed him that just 4 days after the reopening of classrooms in that county (last Monday) there are already 19 teachers who have covid-19, although it is unclear where they were infected.
Likewise, the Palm Beach school system reported on Thursday two students with coronavirus, but similarly it was not reported where they got the virus.
On Tuesday, the day after schools reopened in Palm Beach, 900 teachers called sick. And on the day of reopening, 940 teachers did not go to work at their respective schools.
Even several students in that county created an online petition so teachers can teach classes virtually from home.
One of the students who is part of this initiative said he had been inspired by a teacher who had to quit her job because her father has cancer and can’t risk bringing the coronavirus home.
“They need to take care of their relatives, but they also need their pay. They should not be forced to choose between saving their relatives or saving their wages,” said Kyle Rudd, a student at a public school in Palm Beach.
School board decision on back to school
Following a meeting involving more than 800 parents with their comments, the Miami-Dade school board decided last Tuesday to delay students’ physical return to schools by October 14.
The school superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, had proposed September 30 as the date for the reopening of the schools, but due to the concern of parents and teachers, the new date of mid-October was chosen.
Something similar happened in Broward County, where the reopening date was also delayed by October 14.