DeLand, FL - Volusia United Educators President Elizabeth Albert said the first day of school was fraught with concerns over technology, class rosters, with folks being asked to perform duties outside of their normal job responsibilities like taking temperatures and monitoring the clinics.
The ongoing issue with the cleaning service, ABM Industries, continues, according to Albert. She says the school district is asking teachers and other staff to pick up some custodial duties which are typically outside their job role. "We know that the district has provided cleaning supplies but there are questions about the manner in which they are to be used." Albert says there are no clear instructions on when and how to use the cleaning supplies, such as whether they should be used when children are in the room.
Albert says that VUE is filing grievances on things that are outside of our current contract. Because negotiations between the union and the district aren't complete, union members are still working under the contract prior to the pandemic. "Our contracts that were in place prior to COVID are still what we are working under. So anything that is a violation of language within, would be grievable."
There are still a lot of questions about the district's refusal to share information about positive COVID cases in worksites and school locations. Albert said we believe that parents and staff have the right to know what the circumstances are and what the environment is like at school. She says there are problems with communication and the district's transparency. "We feel that the district should be truthful and transparent about what's going on in our schools. It's not like we don't know COVID isn't out there so we're just asking for some honesty."
Albert said she doesn't think it's unreasonable to want the information so that they can be prepared to fight this "invisible enemy."