Broward teachers return to classroom Monday amid COVID-19 concerns

Teachers Union lawsuit says District’s lack of accommodations for work-at-home a violation

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – More than a thousand Broward County teachers who have been working from home during the pandemic were to return to the physical classroom on Monday morning, days after the Broward Teachers Union filed a lawsuit to try and stop the move.

The suit was filed by the BTU when the school district announced it would no longer accommodate 1,700 teachers who were working from home because of underlying conditions or concerns about exposure to COVID-19.

On Friday, Superintendent Robert Runcie said the district has been working for weeks on extending accommodations to teachers. More may be added based on need at each individual school.

“As of this morning, our schools have granted over 600 remote work assignments based on operational needs,” Runcie said Friday.

The president of the Broward Teachers Union, Anna Fusco, has said that the urgency is for the most vulnerable, some with underlying illnesses, who are concerned if they go back to the classroom that they may contract COVID19 and could possibly get gravely sick or die.

Broward School District Superintendent Robert Runcie said the district expects up to 50 percent of students to return to the classroom in the second semester which starts Monday.  He is urging parents who have children with failing grades or truancy issues to return them to brick and mortar school.

“Remote learning is working for some students but for far too many it is not working at all,” Runcie said Friday.

The teachers’ union believes not extending these work-from-home accommodations is a violation of an agreement with the district that expires at the end of the school year.

Fusco said the fear is what could happen as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

“I don’t believe the everyday operation of every school needs 100 percent of teachers on campus,” Fusco said.

(See the lawsuit filed by BTU below.)

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