DeLand, FL - Volusia United Educators President Elizabeth Albert says a reopening plan for Volusia County Schools for 2020 posted to the vcsedu.org website had not been voted on or discussed with VUE. The document was removed soon after it posted with this explanation from the School Board:
"Volusia County Schools parents, teachers, and staff,
A working document was mistakenly posted on our district website last night. We have been working with many groups including the community, medical professionals, students, the VUE, and VCS staff to develop a plan for returning to school in August. This plan will include appropriate safety measures in place for our students and teachers. The document that was mistakenly posted online is part of the introductory message to the survey that will be going to go out to VCS families next week after the approval from School Board. A full explanation of all the back to school options will be presented to the School Board at Wednesday’s (July 15) board meeting for approval and bargained with the Union. We are sorry for any confusion this has caused."
The document appeared on the website on Friday (July 10) and removed the next day after Albert took to social media to talk about it. She says by no means was there an agreement prior to the release of that plan. "Your VUE team has worked with the plans with the District one hour Wednesday afternoon and one hour Thursday and that is the total of the engagement that we have had with the District arund the reopening plan." She said that VUE had no idea that the plan was going to be released becasue they would have shut it down.
Albert says that VUE will be issuing a formal demand-to-bargain letter to the District. The union members will then convene the bargaining team to start working through what was articulated in the document released in order to ensure VUE members are not negatively impacted by any of the decisions within that plan. She says that this deosn't necessarily mean that the options in the document are invalid but it does mean that they need continued work and refinement.
Albert says the top priorities are health and safety nad how do we open brick and mortar schools with COVID-19 numbers on the rise. "Your VUE team has worked with the plans with the District one hour Wednesday afternoon and one hour Thursday and that is the total of the engagement that we have had with the District around the reopening plan."
What happened at Timbercrest Elementary in Deltona last week cannot happen again, according to Albert. She says it clearly shows that we are not ready to reopen schools. In the VPK program, one student is known to have tested positive for COVID-19 while three others were showing symptoms of the virus. There were only five students enrolled. That program has since been canceled. Albert said that the teachers and principal at the school were notified to quarantine for 14 days but were not ordered to get tested for the coronavirus.
The opening plan is scheduled to be revealed at a Volusia County School Board special meeting this Wednesday, July 15.