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FEA survey reveals majority of school staff, parents don't want brick and mortar learning plan

Posted at 11:19 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 23:19:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Shocking numbers coming from the Florida Education Association survey show teachers statewide aren't comfortable returning to the classroom.

This comes as districts continue to push back start dates and educators fight to keep themselves and their students safe.

"I'm terrified to go back to school," said Chris Guerrieri, a teacher in Jacksonville, a COVID-19 hotspot in the state.

Guerrieri, is also one of the thousands of teachers across Florida who say they aren't being heard.

"We are yelling to the top of our lungs, 'keep us safe, protect our families,'" Guerrieri, said. "But, unfortunately, a lot of people just aren't listening."

The Florida Educators Association recently filed a lawsuit against the state and released results of a survey from teachers and parents all over Florida.

"Among teachers and staff in our schools, 73 percent said they didn't want to return at this point in time," said Andrew Spar, the vice president of the FEA.

Fifty-three percent of parents are not comfortable sending their children back to brick and mortar schools.

Denise Dienna is a parent and a teacher in Bradenton.

"It's very clear COVID is dangerous," Dienna said. "It is here, it is killing people and it is killing children. Children are spreading it and we need to deal with it in a very systematic way."

That's why both Dienna and Guerrieri, took the FEA survey and signed a petition to keep school buildings closed for the school year.

The petition started by Davy Finnigan in Osceola County has almost 100,000 signatures.

They say since no one is listening they need to do everything they can to keep people safe.

"We need to step up as a state and we need to get the community spread down," said Dienna.

Their only hope is that the state will listen.

"I want to be there," Guerrieri, said. "I miss my kids. I miss going to work, but if we can't keep doing it safely, if we can't keep children safe, families safe, and teachers safe then what is the point."

The FEA received over 50,000 responses to the survey. They say they want schools to reopen, but think online learning is the best option.