FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – There are about 1,700 Broward County Public School teachers who have serious underlying health conditions. Some of those conditions put them at risk of dying of complications with COVID-19.
On Friday, Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie is putting an end to teachers’ special work-from-home accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The schools are safe. I would say they’re probably safer than going to the grocery store or to the mall,” Runcie said on Wednesday.
In a recent Broward County Public Schools’ survey, 39% of the parents who responded said they are ready to send their kids back into the schoolhouse. This is why Runcie said they need teachers to return to classrooms.
This raises the urgency for teachers to have access to the vaccine. Gov. Ron Desantis has faced criticism for prioritizing seniors ages 65 and up before teachers and frontline workers.
Sarah Leonardi, a newly elected Broward School Board member, said teachers are scared. She said in the last 24 hours she has received about 400 e-mails from teachers who need to be allowed to continue to work from home during the pandemic.
“They were granted those accommodations because of health conditions that are not ending on January 8th,” said Anna Fusco, the president of the Broward County Teachers Union. “It’s a poor decision. It’s a bad decision.”
Broward County Public Schools administrators asked Broward County’s legislative delegation to Tallahassee to focus on funding, the Florida Statewide Assessment, and on giving teachers priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine.