Report: Florida Teachers Prepare Their Living Wills As Debate Over Schools Reopening Rages On

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Some teachers in St. John’s County in Florida are reportedly working on their last wills and testaments as they prepare to return to school in the fall.

Andrea Clark, a 5th grade teacher and her school’s teachers union representative, told local news Monday she heard of plans to draft living wills from around 10 other teachers in the county, according to First Coast News.

“They are so concerned about returning to school that they are updating their wills or making their wills,” Clark said. “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.”

Educators have expressed concern about reopening schools after state data released earlier this month indicated that nearly one-third of the roughly 54,000 Florida children tested returned positive results, The Hill reported.

Florida has recently seen its number of coronavirus cases surge. The state reported 13,965 cases and 156 new deaths Thursday, the highest death toll reported by the state in a single day thus far, according to WPLG Local 10. Florida also reported 15,299 positive cases Sunday, the largest single-day increase recorded in the U.S.

The state has reported more than 311,000 cases and nearly 4,700 deaths since the pandemic began, according to data from the Florida Department of Health. (RELATED: Is Florida Having A Coronavirus Resurgence? Here’s What We Know)

The Florida Department of Education issued an emergency order earlier this month stating “all school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students.” The state’s education department said that local county health departments would help establish protocols.

Florida Education Association president Fedrick Ingram criticized the order for not providing more details and giving teachers a four week timeline to prepare. “Teachers are angry and in fact, they should be,” Ingram told 10 Tampa Bay in a statement Tuesday.

For schools in St. Johns County like the one Clark teaches at, parents have been given the option to either send their children to a brick and mortar school or to switch to virtual learning from home, First Coast News reported. “I’m not sure how we’re going to handle things at home,” Clark said.

The school district in St. Johns County also published a document Tuesday answering a number of questions from concerned parents and teachers.