Orange County teachers union accuses Florida of playing 'Russian roulette' with student health following change in COVID-19 quarantine rules


  • Photo via Orange County Classroom Teachers Association/Facebook

Following the passage of a new rule by the Florida Department of Health that allows parents to decide whether to quarantine their COVID-19-exposed children, the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association is speaking out. In a statement shared with Orlando Weekly, the teachers union accused the state government of playing "Russian roulette" with the health of students, faculty and the larger community.

"The newly appointed Florida Surgeon General has issued a rule that parents get to decide whether their asymptomatic child who has been directly exposed to COVID-19 will quarantine," wrote OCCTA President Wendy Doromal. "As if maintaining protection during this pandemic has not been enough of a challenge, now the state’s head physician will allow parents to play Russian Roulette with the health of other students, educators, and the community at large. With more students on campus and less social distancing possible it is incredible that state leaders suggest eliminating protections that were in place last year. They have made learning and teaching in our schools extra fearful and uncertain."

Orange County recently bucked rules set by the state of Florida around requiring masks. Though the administration of Ron DeSantis threatened to pull funding from districts that imposed mask mandates, the School Board voted to make masking mandatory through October 30 with the backing of the CTA.

Since then, the ban on mask mandates has wound its way through Florida courts. It was initially overturned by a Leon County judge, before being appealed by the DeSantis administration. Though that same judge ordered that the mask ban be lifted during appeal for the safety of Florida's children and parents, a higher court ruled that the ban would remain in place until a decision was reached.

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