PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Teachers in the Tampa Bay area are growing concerned for their health as more students return to in-person learning.
Amanda Loeffler has three children in the Pinellas County School District who’ve been virtual learning since last march.
“My oldest is the one that’s really struggling with the online learning,” said Loeffler.
However, she said they’re not returning to in-person learning.
“I think if social distancing was something that was actually possible within the classrooms,” Loeffler added.
Pinellas County Schools added 506 more COVID cases during the Christmas break. Teachers are worried they’re not protected as more students do return to the classroom.
“There will never be a virtual program created that can create the human relationship between teacher and student. So, getting the teachers vaccinated and in a better place to be invulnerable to the virus,” explained Nancy Velardi, President of Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association.
The state’s teacher labor union is calling on Gov. Ron Desantis to follow CDC recommendations and make them a priority for the vaccine.
“It at least needs to be made available to all of those who are willing to get the vaccine and get themselves protected, so that they can do their jobs, that they want very much want to do,” said Velardi.