DeLand, FL - In a school year where everything is different, there will be an Impasse Hearing between Volusia County Schools and Volusia United Educators on Thursday. It will be the first meeting since the pandemic began that members of the public will be able to attend. The Volusia County School Board will act as a quasi-judicial body in this matter.
VUE President Elizabeth Albert said that she will present the open and close with school teachers getting the chance to speak about what they have been dealing with. There are multiple issues to talk about but Albert says the most important is the health and safety of students and staff. "We want to make sure that we emphasize the importance of following CDC guidelines. We want to make that sure we talk about what's going on in our schools as far as the replenishment and distribution of PPE."
Volusia County Schools debuted a COVID-19 dashboard last week but Albert says it's not accurate. She says they want to talk about truthfulness and transparency and the number of positive cases in our schools.
Albert said the expectations for teachers to teach on both Volusia Live and face-to-face simultaneously are not being met. She said she's hearing from many folks that parents aren't liking the way Volusia Live was rolled out. There are also things for parents of brick-and-mortar students to worry about. "I think there are concerns about safety protocols, CDC guidelines, wearing of masks. If you are a parent of a Volusia Online learner, I know that some of those students don't even have their schedules yet and this is the third week of school."
There are several district issues adding to the problems according to Albert. She said the Volusia Online teachers are doing everything to get the kids up and running in their courses. Some students that were enrolled in July were never picked up and are being enrolled now. There are also problems with the schedule building for secondary students. Albert says it's been one catastrophe after another. She says she thinks that parents are getting upset over all the problems and the message keeps changing.
Albert says the impasse hearing is a very big deal for not only the teachers and support professionals but for the future of our community. "Everything rides on public schools. If we choose to go low and do less in this moment, that is going to have systemic impacts as we go forward, so it's really a big deal."
Thursday's Impasse Hearing begins at 4 p.m. If you plan to attend, there will be a single-entry point with doors opening at 3:45 p.m. Temperature checks will be done at the entrance, and masks will be required. Seating will be spaced to allow for social distancing.