I visited my school today. In case you guys don't know, I'm a middle school science teacher. They are still busy deep cleaning on a level they haven't done before. They called in some science teachers to help de-clutter and clean out the storage rooms (something which rarely gets done because we like to keep a lot of odd-ball things for demonstrations/experiments, etc.).
The previous day a county decision was made to push back the starting day for students to 8/17 (a week later). The apparent plan right now is to give the students 3 options: They can opt for online education, they can opt for a hybrid schedule of 2 days school/3 online, or go to school fully 5 days a week. From what I understand, an earlier at-large survey (in June) showed that most parents wanted to re-open schools on time. Parents are to let the schools know by July 22. From what my assistant principal told me, most parents want to physically send their kids to school.
They are modifying the school as much as possible (not much is possible, really) and face masks & shields will be mandatory. If there are any positive cases, this is the official guideline:
Q. What happens if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed at a school?
A. If a school has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County will be contacted. Parents and employees of the school will also be informed, although specific information pertaining to the confirmed case cannot be released due to HIPPA, FERPA and ADA laws. Any students or staff members exposed to a confirmed case will be notified and will be subject to 14-day isolation from date of the last known exposure. Exposure occurs when a positive case was in direct contact with a staff member or student for at least 15 minutes (within teaching and learning environments). Once a case is confirmed, a portion or portions of the school, or the entire school will be closed for cleaning and disinfecting for 2-5 days depending on the exposure and the parts of the school affected. Actions will be taken on an individual basis based on the circumstances at each school. An outbreak of multiple positive cases in a school may close the entire school.
Teachers are still expected to to show up for pre-year prep on Aug 3rd. Apparently this will include a lot of prep for a more standardized online education. The ending of the previous year was a little chaotic as every teacher generated their own approach.
Right now I know of at least two of my co-workers who are older and near retirement who are strongly considering just retiring early. Also worth noting that the local hospitals are pretty much at peak capacity. Plus out of the 54,000 kids that have been tested across Florida, 31% have tested positive for Covid-19. Most are asymptomatic.
I'm waiting to hear back from my union, but right now out of all the federal, state, county, local leadership, it's up to us teacher to take a stand and say "fuck no". There's no reason for us to risk our lives when 1) we aren't mandating that citizens do anything to prevent the spread of the virus (there are no local mask ordinances) and 2) we could and should be doing on-line only because that would save lives.
I'm incensed that I'm thought of as expendable. Teachers (and custodians, aides, administration, coaches, food workers, etc.) are going to get sick and die. We are not acceptable losses.
Trump, Devos, and DeSantis can go fuck themselves.