HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) – With COVID-19 cases on the rise across South Florida, some teachers are refusing to return to class, and parents of students at Broward County schools said they are concerned about how their children’s education will be impacted.
At Beachside Montessori Village in Hollywood, parents of middle school students enrolled there said they have become worried after learning several teachers were not coming back to class.
“We only have 12 core teachers in our middle school. We’ve lost five; we’re down to 7,” said parent Vanessa Cuomo.
Cuomo, who has a seventh grader attending the school, said she’s concerned her daughter will fall behind.
“There are certain subjects that don’t have teachers at all, and the children are being told to teach themselves independently,” she said.
Because of the pandemic, many Broward County Public Schools teachers have been teaching from home, but recently they were told they would have to go back to school.
The district has allowed more than 600 of the 1,700 educators with an underlying medical condition to continue working remotely, but some who didn’t qualify for that exemption are reportedly taking sick leave or have decided to retire.
Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union said some teachers still don’t feel safe coming back on campus.
“They have not abandoned their students. Their principal is making the abandonment happen,” she said.
“My issue isn’t about teachers or anything like that. It’s about the district and the handling of the situation,” said Cuomo.
Fusco said educators should have been allowed to continue teaching online.
“There has been no plan. There has been no rationale,” she said. “It’s just arbitrary and capricious to bring back everybody, when we have over 75% of our student population across Broward schools still working remote.”
While other schools in the district may be able to adapt to the recent changes, Cuomo said, because Beachside is so much smaller, they are unable to do that.
“We don’t have the luxury, if we’re missing one teacher, to just pass the students on to another teacher,” she said. “Our teachers each teach one subject.”
7News reached out to the school district about staff shortage at Beachside. They sent a statement that reads in part, “The district continues to assign substitutes and offer additional compensation to certified teachers to be present to teach our students in those classes.”
The statement goes on to say the district remains committed to balancing the needs of all students with the public health concerns of teachers and staff.
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