FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Broward County Public Schools is working on a plan to get special education students back in the classroom, on a limited basis, in a matter of weeks.
“I have also directed staff to look at a pilot program at a limited number of schools if we can find students and teachers willing to participate by August 31st,” Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie told the School Board on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, several county school unions came out against it, saying they are not happy with Runcie’s plan.
The Broward Teachers Union, the Federation of Public and Private Employees, and the Broward Principals’ and Assistants’ Association said it wouldn’t be safe.
The unions said teachers are afraid.
“The August 31st day is way too soon,” said Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco.
They say no students should go back until medical professionals say it’s safe. They added that exceptional students can also be the most vulnerable.
“If the numbers are not decreasing, why would we put our most fragile kids in that situation? Some of them have underlying medical conditions,” said Fusco.
As for parents, one mom told CBS4 that she wants a say in where her children learn.
“There is an enormous challenge for parents who don’t think they can provide an adequate education for their children, largely teachers I’ve been in contact with want to come back. Why wasn’t there a choice?” asked parent Kim Tripido.
Some parents have said that they are looking into private schools or tutoring options to teach their kids. Those options, however, can cause financial strain and are not accessible to all.
The district has not finalized how the pilot program would work, including how many days a week students would be in schools.
The first day of virtual learning for all Broward schools students is April 19th.