Florida Teachers Union Head: Resuming In-Person Learning Is ‘Irresponsible’ | TODAY

published on July 12, 2020

ENVIRONMENT>> THAT WAS NBC’S STEPHANIE GOSKREPORTING THEREIN FLORIDA, THE FIRST DAY OFSCHOOL IS JUST ABOUT A MONTHAWAYSHEINELLE, AS WE REPORTED ON

WEDNESDAY, THE STATE’S EDUCATIONCOMMISSIONER HAS ORDERED ALLPUBLIC SCHOOLS IN FLORIDA TORESUME IN-PERSON CLASSES>> YES, AND THAT HAS SOMEPARENTS AND TEACHERS IN THE HOT

SPOT STATE CONCERNEDJOINING US NOW IS FREDERICKINGRAM, THE PRESIDENT OF THEFLORIDA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION,THE STATE’S LARGEST TEACHERSUNION

FREDERICK, GOOD MORNING TO YOU>> THANK YOUGOOD MORNING TO YOU, THANK YOUFOR HAVING ME>> LET’S DIG IN HERETHE STATE OF FLORIDA HAS SEEN A

LARGE INCREASE OVER THE PASTWEEK WITH NEARLY 65,000 NEWCASESI KNOW ON MONDAY THIS EXECUTIVEORDER CAME DOWN AND IT REQUIRESSCHOOLS TO OFFER FULL-TIME IN-PERSON ESSENTIALLY

IN-PERSON ESSENTIALLYINSTRUCTION AT LEAST FIVE DAYS AWEEKWHEN THIS DECISION CAME DOWN,WHAT DID YOU THINK AND WHAT WASTHE REACTION FROM TEACHERS

>> SUREWELL, FRANKLY, IT’SIRRESPONSIBLEIT IS PUTTING OUR CHILDREN ANDPUTTING OUR TEACHERS ANDEDUCATIONAL SUPPORT

PROFESSIONALS IN THE MIDDLE OFPOLITICS AND THE REOPENING OFTHE ECONOMYLET ME GIVE YOU THE BACKDROPYESTERDAY WE HAD REPORTED HEREIN THE STATE OF FLORIDA ALMOST

10,000 NEW CASES OF COVID223,000 CASES TOTAL48,000 DEATHS AND 3,800 TOTALDEATHS HERE IN THE STATE OFFLORIDAIN THE MIDDLE OF THAT, THE

PRESIDENT MAKES A DECLARATIONTHAT ALL SCHOOLS MUST OPEN INTHE FALL AND THEN WE HAVE ANEXECUTIVE ORDER FROM OURGOVERNOR THAT SAYS, YOU KNOWWHAT, WE’RE GOING TO GO FULL

SPEED AHEAD, HELL OR HIGH WATER,AND OPEN SCHOOLSTHAT’S IRRESPONSIBLE TO NOT HAVEA PLANTHIS IS NOT A SLOGAN, LIVES AREIN THE BALANCE

PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE HURT ANDPEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE KILLED IFWE DON’T GET THIS RIGHT>> SO CLEARLY YOU DON’T BELIEVETHAT SCHOOLS IN FLORIDA AREPREPARED TO OFFER THIS RIGHT

NOWAND THEN THERE’S ANOTHER ASPECTTO THISYOU KNOW, WE SEE ALL OF THISCONTROVERSY, THERE ARE A LOT OFTEACHERS WHO DON’T EVEN WANTING

TO SHOW UP ON THE FIRST DAYWHAT ARE YOU HEARING>> LISTEN, WE HAVE TEACHERS OVERTHE AGE OF 60, WE HAVE TEACHERSTHAT HAVE UNDERLYING ISSUES,HEALTH ISSUES

FRANKLY, WE HAVE HEALTHYTEACHERS WHO TAKE CARE OF ANELDERLY PARENT OR SICK CHILD ATHOMETHE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOR THESTATE GOVERNMENT HAS GIVEN US

ANY CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE,THAT WE CAN GO INTO THESESCHOOLSLISTEN, THIS IS A STATE WHERE INSOME PLACES YOU CAN’T GO TO THEBEACH, YOU CAN’T CONGREGATE IN

THE GYM OR EAT IN A RESTAURANTBUT NOW IT’S OKAY TO PUTHUNDREDS OF KIDS IN A CONTAINEDAREAIN JACKSONVILLE, TAMPA, ORLANDOOR MIAMI, THOUSANDS OF KIDS IN

THE SAME BUILDING WITHOUTFOLLOWING THE PROPER CDCGUIDELINESTHAT’S IRRESPONSIBLEAND WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER TOHAVE A BIGGER PLAN, TO HAVE A

NATIONAL PLAN AND HOW WE’REGOING TO GET THESE KIDS BACK TOSCHOOLLET ME JUST SAY THIS, NO ONEWANTS TO BE IN SCHOOL MORE THANTEACHERS

THE FIRST GRADE TEACHERS CAN’TWAIT TO GET BACK TO SCHOOLI’M A HIGH SCHOOL BAND DIRECTORI WANT TO SEE THOSE KIDS OUTTHERE DOING THEIR THING, BUT WEHAVE TO DO IT IN A RESPONSIBLE

WAYWE HAVE TO DO IT SO THAT PARENTSHAVE CONFIDENCE THAT THEIR KIDIS GOING TO COME HOME AND BESAFE AND NOT INFECT GRANDMOTHERAT HOME OR AUNT OR PERHAPS A

BROTHER OR SISTER WHO HASJUVENILE DIABETES OR SOME OTHERISSUES>> FEDRICK, AS WE UNDERSTAND IT,THE ORDER DOES LEAVE ROOM FORSTATE AND LOCAL HEALTH OFFICIALS

TO OVERRIDE ITIT ALSO ALLOWS DISTRICTS TOOFFER HYBRID — SORT OF HYBRIDOF IN PERSON AND ONLINE OPTIONSBUT THE STATE NEEDS TO APPROVETHAT

DOES THAT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE ATALL?>> LISTEN, WHAT THEY HAVE DONEIS PASS THE BUCK TO OURSUPERINTENDENTS AND OUR SCHOOLBOARDS AND OUR COMMUNITY

MEMBERSLISTEN, THANK GOD THAT WE HAVESOME SUPERINTENDENTS WHO ARESHOWING SOME LEVEL OF COURAGE,SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS WORKINGWITH LOCAL UNION OFFICIALS AN

ALL OF OUR STAKEHOLDERS BECAUSEWE HAVE A DECLARATION FROM ONEOF OUR SCHOOL DISTRICTS THATSAID, LISTEN, IF SCHOOL STARTEDTOMORROW, HE WOULD NOT OPENSCHOOLS

AND SO WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARESHOWING A HIGH LEVEL OFLEADERSHIP, HIGH LEVEL OFCOURAGE, BUT THAT’S WHAT OURPUBLIC SCHOOLS DOOUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS DON’T LEAD

WITH THREATS, OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLSDON’T LEAD WITH FALSIN YOUE INNUTHAT WE’RE GOING TO GET THISRIGHTWE NEED TO BE LED BY FACTS ANDPASSION AND GRACE BECAUSE WE’RE

ALL HURTING>> LAST WEEK WE INTERVIEWED ONTHIS BROADCAST THE PRESIDENT OFTHE AMERICAN ACADEMY OFPEDIATRICSTHIS GROUP RECOMMENDS ALL

STUDENTS RETURN TO SCHOOLFULL-TIMEWHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE TO THOSEWHO BELIEVE THAT KEEPING KIDSOUT OF CLASS DOES MORE HARM THANGOOD

>> LISTEN, WE WANT OUR KIDS BACKIN SCHOOLI’M GOING TO REITERATE THATAGAINYOU KNOW, FOR THE AMERICANFEDERATION OF TEACHERS, OUR

NATIONAL AFFILIATE, WE’VE BEENWORKING AND PARTNERING WITH THENEAALL TEACHERS WANT TO BE BACK INSCHOOL OR AT LEAST 76% OFTEACHERS THAT WE SURVEYED SAID

THAT THEY WANT TO BE BACK INSCHOOLAND SO I WILL TELL YOU THAT WEWANT TO BE BACK, BUT WE WANT TODO IT SAFELYTHIS IS LIFE OR DEATH

AND DOING THESE THINGS OUTSIDEOF SCHOOL IN OUR MENTAL HEALTHSERVICES, OUR COUNSELORS, WE’REGOING TO NEED THOSE FOLKS INSIDEOUR SCHOOLIT’S GOING TO COST MONEY TO

EDUCATE THESE KIDS IN OUR NEWNORMALWE’RE READY TO GO BACK BUT WEWANT TO GO BACK SAFELY AND MAKESURE WE’RE NOT THE PETRI DISHFOR THE NATION HERE IN FLORIDA

>> SPEAKING OF GOING BACK,FEDRICK, WHEN IT COMES TOWEARING MASKS, OBVIOUSLY WE’VESEEN THE VIRAL VIDEOS AND THECONFRONTATIONS OVER THEM, PEOPLENOT WANTING TO WEAR THEM

HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU THAT THETEACHERS WILL HAVE TO BE THEONES ENFORCING STUDENTS WEARINGMASKS?I SAY THAT KNOWING JUSTYESTERDAY I HAVE TWO 7-YEAR-OLDS

AND A 10-YEAR-OLDFOR THE FIRST TIME THEY HAD AMASKI COULDN’T EVEN KEEP THEM ON FORSECONDSIT’S A REAL CHALLENGE, QUITE

FRANKLY>> SURETHE PANDEMIC IS GOING TO BE AREAL CHALLENGEWE NEED TO START RE-EDUCATINGPEOPLE

WE HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO’S TRYINGTO LEGISLATE BY TWEETWE SHOULD BE EDUCATING PEOPLE ONTHE PROPER USE OF MASKS AND HOWTHEY’RE HECHLPING OUR PUBLIC ATLARGE, HOW THEY’RE HELPING OUR

COMMUNITIES, HOW THEY’RE HELPINGIN STORES AND RESTAURANTS INSTOPPING THE SPREAD OF THISVIRUSIT’S NOT THE ONUS OF THISTEACHER TO DO ALL OF THE

EDUCATIONWE HAVE TO DO IT AT HOME, WEHAVE TO DO IT IN OUR COMMUNITY,WE HAVE TO DO IT IN THE STATEHOUSE AND IN THE WHITE HOUSEUNFORTUNATELY WE’RE GETTING A

VERY LOW LEVEL OF LEADERSHIPFROM OUR SECRETARY OF EDUCATION,BETSY DeVOS, WHO’S BEEN ONTELEVISION FOR THE LAST 48 HOURSNOT TALKING ABOUT THOSE ISSUESTHAT MATTER, THE CDC REGULATIONS

AND SOCIAL DISTANCING ANDENSURING THAT WE CAN BRING OURSTUDENTS BACK AND HAVE MASKS ANDTHE IMPORTANCE OF THATLISTEN, IT’S GOING TO BE A RE-RE-EDUCATION FOR ALL OF US, NOT

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