Palm Beach County Educators Remain in the Dark as Schools Set to Open September 21st
Earlier this week, the president of the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association, Justin Katz, sent a letter to the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Donald Fennoy, asking for the following:
- Immediate removal and replacement of Chief of Human Resources, Dr. Gonzalo La Cava
- Fix the issues facing educators who are teaching both in-classroom and distance learning students at the same time
- Provide teachers more planning time during the school day
- To better inform employees about all personal protective equipment and sanitization products available to them in classrooms and schools
Previously, the Florida Education Association had filed a lawsuit after Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran ordered schools to reopen classrooms by Aug. 31 or risk losing funding – and they won.
In the ruling, Leon County Judge Charles Dodson decided that a statewide mandate ordering local school officials to resume in-person instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic was unconstitutional. The judge said that the state “prioritized reopening schools statewide in August over safety and the advice of health experts.”.
However, with the recent announcement from Gov. Ron DeSantis that Palm Beach County will move into Phase Two of Florida’s reopening plan, that means in-person schooling will also be following suit.
Today, Katz says he plans to address school board members regarding “grave concerns” he has as students prepare to return to brick-and-mortar schools on Monday, Sept. 21. Katz said his biggest issue is the lack of communication, claiming La Cava failed to create a policy for employees who have “legitimate medical needs” and can’t return to brick-and-mortar schools for fear of contracting COVID-19. He also stated that teachers have not been given enough instructions on how to simultaneously teach in-classroom and distance learning effectively nor have they received any information regarding safety protocols for brick-and-mortar schools.