Teachers have begun drafting or updating their last wills and testaments as they prepare to return to school in a Florida school district amid coronavirus concerns.
Andrea Clark, a teachers union representative in the St. Johns County School District about 30 miles south of Jacksonville, said teachers have expressed their worries over exposure to the virus as the opening of school approaches on August 10.
‘They are so concerned about returning to school that they are updating their wills or making their wills,’ Clark said.
Florida has mandated that schools reopen in August, after they were shuttered due to lockdowns aimed at containing the pandemic. Teachers across the state have protested the reopening plan, asking for virtual instruction to continue until the number of cases, now more than 300,000, declines.
Andrea Clark, a teachers union representative in the St. Johns County School District about 30 miles south of Jacksonville, said teachers have expressed their worries to her over exposure to the coronavirus as the opening of school approaches on August 10
Clark said teachers ‘are so concerned about returning to school that they are updating their wills or making their wills’. Teachers (pictured) across Florida have expressed worries after the state required reopening schools in August
Teachers in Brevard County are pictured holding signs demanding that school continue virtually until the number of cases of the coronavirus begins to decline
‘Some teachers have underlying health concerns where they feel fairly certain that if they caught COVID-19, it would be a bad outcome, possibly fatal,’ Clark told First Coast News.
Clark, who is also a fifth grade teacher in the district and has two children attending the schools, said that she stopped counting how many teachers were concerned after hearing from almost a dozen of them.
St. Johns County Superintendent Tim Forson, aware of the concerns, told the First Coast News that teachers felt they were on the ‘frontlines.’
‘I can’t deny that. I understand that thought and concern’ said Forson.
‘My commitment to them is this: I am going to do everything in my power, put everything I can in place to minimize or eliminate risks.’
Forsan said the August 10 reopening could be delayed, after the local school board asked for more time to prepare as a recent spike hit the state.
St. Johns County Superintendent Tim Forson, aware of teachers’ concerns said some felt they were on the ‘frontlines.’ ‘I can’t deny that. I understand that thought and concern’ said Forson, pictured during a TV news interview
‘In March, there were hundreds of cases in the state of Florida and we closed the schools. Now there are thousands a day, I think the other day that was over 15,000 in one day,’ School Board member Patrick Canan said during a schools meeting earlier this week,’ New4Jax reported.
The St. Johns County district has provided four options for the return, which either has students learning from brick and mortar buildings, or virtually from home.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Florida has now risen to more than 300,000, adding 10,181 on Tuesday alone after a spike in the outbreak across the state. The statewide death toll has reached 4,626.
Florida’s rolling seven-day average for deaths has increased to 92 per day, triple the 31 posted a month ago.
As of Tuesday, Florida had the second highest death rate in the United States – slightly behind Texas.
When the coronavirus was ravaging New York three months ago, it recorded 799 deaths on April 9 and a top seven-day average of 763 deaths on April 14.
The surge in cases and deaths came as Miami’s Jackson Health System reported a staggering 226 percent increase in COVID-19 patients in the last month.
Florida added 10,181 confirmed cases to its tally on Tuesday with the total number of infections now at 301,810 since the outbreak began there March 1
The state confirmed an additional 112 deaths, which is the third time in the last seven days its eclipsed 100 and brings the statewide death toll to 4,626
Carlos Migoya, the president and CEO of Jackson Health System, told CNN’s New Day that they had 129 patients on June 14 and it had spiked to 420 by Tuesday.
Migoya said the recent curfews and closures of bars and restaurants would help hospitals cope with the surge but said people across the state hadn’t been wearing masks and properly social distancing since initially reopening in May.
‘The biggest issue is that we have a lot of aggressive non-compliant people, people that just do not believe that masking is the right thing to do,’ he said.
Clark said she personally will not be sending her two children, who attend the district, back to school when it reopens.
‘My children will not be going back to brick and mortar,’ she said. ‘My mother-in-law is elderly. She drops off the kids at school and picks them up. She is high risk.’