ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – As students across Orange County started a new school year with only online learning on Monday, the Orange County teachers union were in court with the school district over the scheduled start of physical classroom learning that’s scheduled to begin August 21.
What You Need To Know
- Teachers union suing district over face-to-face learning
- Physical classrooom learning set to begin August 21
- Union president says some teachers won't feel safe showing up
- Online learning began Monday
Orange County Classroom Teachers Association is suing the school district to stop face-to-face learning. And the lawsuit is asking a judge to force the district to release details about any positive coronavirus cases, if face-to-face learning does happen.
Wendy Doromal is the president of the teachers union.
“Be notified when a school or worksite where are teachers and students are – has a positive case of COVID-19 – and what precautions are being made,” said Doromal, President of OCCTA.
In a virtual court hearing on Monday, an attorney for the school district argued the district doesn’t want to release that information because it could compromise people’s personal health information. And OCPS’s attorney says the district must open up brick-and-mortar schools as an option in order to comply with the state’s mandate – or else it could risk losing state funding.
But if schools physically reopen, the union president says some teachers won’t feel safe showing up.
“There will not be enough teachers,” Doromal said.
Taylirre Mack says she doesn’t feel safe physically going back into the classroom.
“It is making me feel like I am putting my kids and my grandparents and anybody else I come in contact with - and even myself – at risk because I have bills to pay,” Mack said.
Mack first shared her dilemma with us back in July when she showed up to an Orange County School Board meeting where district administrators were figuring out how to reopen school. She’s chosen online learning for her daughter.
But if schools physically reopen – she doesn’t have a choice – she’ll have to go to school.
“So I’m literally torn between the two,” Mack said.
The teacher’s union says it doesn’t need the names of those infected or even numbers of absences - just enough information to help teachers and parents like Mack know how to protect themselves.
“That way we could get tested because I could be asymptomatic, so now when I go visit my 80-year-old grandmother I’m going to spread it to her unknowing,” Mack said.
A judge set another hearing in the case for Friday, August 14 at 8:30 a.m. Hearings in the case are scheduled as late as August 19 – two days before the scheduled start of face-to-face learning.