Teachers union seeks to block reopening of Orange County schools

Contending that the school district has “failed to put the proper safety protocols in place,” the Orange County teachers union on Thursday asked a court to block the reopening of school campuses next month.

The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association is seeking an injunction to prevent the planned Aug. 21 reopening of classrooms until an arbitrator can rule on a grievance filed by the union. Thursday’s complaint, filed in Orange County circuit court, contends that the district has not taken adequate steps to protect staff members and students from COVID-19 and has not released public records that include the names of schools that have had COVID-19 outbreaks and what is being done to keep people safe.

“The grievance seeks an order from an arbitrator requiring the district to maintain brick-and-mortar schools closed, and proceed with online instruction for all students, until health authorities and the CDC (federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines deem it is safe to open; develop and implement comprehensive safety protocols in compliance with CDC guidelines; and provide meaningful training to all employees on said protocols and the delivery of online instruction,” the complaint said.

Orange County will begin the school year with distance learning on Aug. 10, and students will be given the option of on-campus learning starting Aug. 21.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.