Orange County teacher's union holds tele-town hall on schools reopening

Only FOX 35 was in the room as the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association hosted a tele-town hall about reopening public schools.

The million-dollar question is what are things going to look like in Orange County in the fall? The governor is encouraging schools to reopen at full capacity in August but Superintendent Barbara Jenkins doesn’t seem sure.

“Suppose, if you will, that things could change in the next two weeks. If our numbers continue to climb, there could be different direction coming from the state level. As I recall, when the governor released his plan, we had not seen these spikes that we are now seeing in the numbers for Florida,” Jenkins said on the call.  

More than 2,000 people took part in the town hall including Jenkins, school board members, state lawmakers, and union leaders.

Parents and teachers able to bring up questions and concerns to the decision-makers.

“Whether it’s fully or in a hybrid model if a student or staff member gets COVID, what will the protocol be as far as testing, quarantining,” asked one parent/teacher.

“I’m a teacher waiting for my school board to tell me what am I going to do when August comes? It’s a really scary unknown,” another teacher said.

Dr. Jenkins says school board members will hold a workshop on July 7 and hope to make some decisions on July 14.  

“We have 212,000 students who are waiting for decisions and 25,000 employees waiting for decisions to be made,” Jenkins said.

“Statewide, it looks like there’s a lot of discussions still happening. A lot of districts haven’t decided yet,” said Andrew Spar, Vice President of the Florida Education Association.

The union also asked people to answer some poll questions. One was whether people feel safe reopening school at full capacity. Organizers say 90 percent of people in the town hall said ‘No.’”