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Florida Education Association surveys teachers, parents on schools reopening

Posted at 6:53 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 18:54:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Less than a month to the return to school in Leon County and one big question remains: What will school reopenings look like fall semester?

It's a question the Florida Education Association is asking teachers and parents.

The survey covers everything from the level of confidence in returning to the building, protocols to consider, and if schools should delay reopening altogether.

"Health is wealth," said Cierra Thomas. "That's the motto this year."

Usually, around this time of year, teachers are busy shopping for school supplies.

Like many others, Thomas' list looks a little different this year.

"Usually, I'm getting pencils and notebooks," Thomas said. "Now, I'm looking for GermX, masks, and anything else that can protect them."

The return to school during the coronavirus pandemic comes with worries and some anxiety for parents and teachers.

To see how Florida teachers feel about reopening, the FEA created a survey.

"It was terrifying opening the email and truthfully answering the questions, but I'm glad to see that I have the support behind me of the union," said Thomas.

The survey is open to anyone in education from child development to higher education, as well as parents.

The FEA also started a petition urging Governor Ron DeSantis to hold off on reopening schools until the community spread of the virus slowed down.

"Do I feel safe going back? No," Thomas said. "But I feel like my purpose as a teacher weighs heavily on my heart."

Not everyone is okay with where the year is headed.

"Absolutely 100 percent without a doubt not okay with my child returning to brick and mortar," said Matthew DeMarco.

DeMarco says there are a lot of unanswered questions about how students will be protected and until he sees more proof his son will learn from home.

"Leon County School Board and Rocky Hanna all felt it's not safe for us to meet in person to conduct board meetings so we're going to extend this out," DeMarco said. "But it's safe for all of your children and all of your faculty to go back into the classrooms."

To be clear, the decision to reopen schools was not left up to the districts but the state.

Leon County Schools has delayed the start of the school year until August 19.

The district has also developed a plan to allow students to enroll in digital academies if they do not feel safe in the classroom.