DeLand, FL - Earlier this week, the Volusia County School District announced that they would no longer conduct routine temperature checks.
Volusia United Educators President Elizabeth Albert says COVID-19 doesn't always present with a fever but the temperature checks do provide a certain level of protection against all types of illnesses. For her, the lack of social distancing is a bigger issue. "We know in our classrooms that teachers and students are unable to socially distance. With the reconvening of students in our brick and mortar school sites, this is becoming quite the problem."
Albert said that there are some creative measures that she thinks should be revisited. She said the District's goal of having one-to-one devices, such as laptops and iPad, affords the opportunity for flexible scheduling. "There are some very creative ways that we could use as workarounds to space out children and adults and still maintain the level of instruction."
As for when all teachers might be deemed as essential workers in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Albert says the Florida Education Association (FEA) is lobbying all the time at the state level to convince Governor Ron DeSantis that teachers are at great risk to contract the virus. She said they won't stop lobbying for education professionals until the vaccine is available to them. Albert says the first priority is to have a safe environment for teaching and learning. "Schools are essential to open for the operation of the rest of the community in order to get our economic engines up and running. Why aren't the people that work in schools afforded access to the vaccination? It just doesn't make sense."