FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Superintendent Robert Runcie has announced that he wants students to return to their classrooms on October 5th.
The district is facing pressure because of a state funding factor tied to the number of kids who are actually in their seats in school the week of October 5th.
Runcie made his recommendation to the district’s School Board on Tuesday.
This would be a voluntary return to school, no student would be forced to do it. Surveys will go out to parents next week asking them which option they prefer.
On Monday, Jeff Moquin, chief of staff to Superintendent Robert Runcie, sent an email to the School Board concerning what will be expected from teachers.
The memo stated that once the schools open, teachers will no longer be allowed to teach from home.
Anna Fusco, the head of the Broward Teachers Union, said teachers have been told they must show up to the classroom or take a leave of absence. That could be a major problem for some teachers.
“I don’t know how many have some serious, serious compromised immune systems and serious health conditions,” Fusco said.
In addition to returning to the classroom, they will have to teach in-person and distance learning at the same time.
The requirement was spelled out Moquin’s email, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
“In order to optimize the likelihood of a successful transition, it will be necessary for all teachers to return to the physical campus and provide synchronous instruction for those students on campus, as well as those electing to remain in the eLearning environment,” Moquin wrote.
Fusco said she was blindsided by the district’s demands for when in-classroom instruction resumes.
“I know that management has a position that they have to take where it says come back to work. It’s how they presented it to our teachers and other support staff, as just a matter of fact come back to work or take a leave. I felt that was very unprofessional, it was inconsiderate, especially when we are in really strong, strong, multiple hours and days of conversation of what they need to tell the employees to come back,” said Fusco.
Fusco said they haven’t heard about what’s being done concerning PPE, sanitation, or what happens when teachers or students get sick. She also said teachers over 65 or who have underlying health conditions like diabetes or heart conditions should be allowed to continue teaching remotely.
The union has been in negotiations with the district about the details of a return to the classroom and was taken by surprise by the memo.
Fusco said there is still a lot to be ironed out.
Meanwhile, some parents and children are thrilled in class learning will be back in a matter of weeks.
Melanie Stedman of Cooper City says she feels students learn best in a classroom setting.
Her 8th grade daughter Kaylee says she is looking forward to connecting with classmates and seeing her teachers face to face.
The district will be sending surveys to families to figure out how many students will be going to school and how many will continue distance learning.