Volusia County teachers union say negotiations with district reach ‘deadlock’ in reopening school plans

Union says district's proposed plan threatens teachers' health

Volusia County leaders set to discuss school reopening plans

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Volusia County teachers union announced Tuesday it reached a deadlock in negotiations with the school district, issuing an impasse.

The Volusia United Educators says it won’t budge on its stance and with days before students are expected to start school, they believe the district’s reopening plans need to do more to protect the health of everyone returning to campus.

VUE’s stance is that the district’s plan is unsafe and threatens the lives of over 3,800 educators represented by the union and the overall community.

“Teachers want to begin the 2020-2021 academic year more than anyone. However, we must reconvene in a manner that prioritizes the health and safety for all,” a union spokesperson wrote in a news release. “In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, VCS is forcing thousands of teachers to engage in face-to-face instruction while refusing to listen to the advice and guidance of health experts across the state and nation.”

[Everything you need to know about Volusia County’s back to school plan]

The union says the district is only staying true to its mandatory social distancing policy per the recommendation of the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County. VUE points to the school district’s mask requirements, saying it is walking back on its policy to make it mandatory.

“The district has failed to be transparent and implement the policies and guidelines that they cite as the building blocks for their reopening plan. The district has failed to bargain in good faith,” the union said. “With students scheduled to return to in-person instruction on Monday, there is no time to allow the district to stall at the bargaining table.”

Volusia County begins the school year Aug. 31.