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Broward County Teachers’ Union Sues for Being Ordered to Return to Classroom

February 02, 2021
Legal News

COVID-Vulnerable Teachers and Staff Filed Lawsuit to Continue Remote Work

Teachers and staff working remotely in Broward County were told that they would be required to return to work on January 11, 2021. In response to the mandate, the Broward County Teachers’ Union filed a lawsuit to prevent the physical return to classrooms for some of the district’s most vulnerable staff.

After arbitration was finalized, fewer than half of the teachers who had requested special accommodations were granted remote work status. All other teachers were ordered to return to the classroom, in keeping with the CDC’s recommendation that classroom instruction resume nationally.

At Mase Mebane, we are committed to providing you up-to-date COVID-19 information and resources. Our attorneys continue to provide superior legal representation to individuals and their families throughout South Florida. For current developments regarding the coronavirus, shutdowns, and potential lawsuits, contact our office at (844) 627-3529.

Return to Work Order Puts Staff at Risk

According to the Miami Herald, the original return to work order for Broward County Public Schools affected approximately 1,700 teachers and non-instructional staff who had been granted “COVID-19 health-related accommodations.” The staff consists of many who are at the highest risk of serious illness or death if they contract the coronavirus. 

The lawsuit requested that the stay-at-home policy be maintained for the 1,700 at-risk or medically compromised employees. It also sought the appointment of an independent arbitrator to decide the matter. A memorandum of understanding previously finalized between the Union and the district included an agreement for high-risk staff to be given remote work preference. 

Broward School Superintendent Allows 600 Staff to Remain Remote

In response to the lawsuit, Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie agreed to allow 600 instructional staff to continue to work remotely. WLRN reports that the remaining staff would be required to return to the physical classroom. 

The Miami Herald notes that the return to work mandate resulted in almost 100 employees retiring and another 100 taking leave or calling in sick. Cases in the district are staggering, and many teachers with underlying conditions or at risk for complications related to the virus fear that their life could be on the line.

Broward County Schools – By the Numbers

The Broward County Public Schools Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard indicates that across the district, there have been 2,333 total cases since reopening on October 9, 2020. Of these cases, 1,196 are confirmed student cases attending in-person instruction, and 1,137 are employees.

In the last 30 days alone, there have been 844 positive cases. 476 of the total cases are from students attending in-person instruction, and 368 are self-reported cases by employees of the district.

In addition to the confirmed coronavirus cases, the Miami Herald reports that Broward County School District has:

  • 33,022 employees, including 14,329 teachers
  • Approximately 261,000 students
  • About 58,465 children pre-K to 12 returned to in-classroom as opposed to 37,162 on Oct. 31  
  • More than 20% of students returned to in-classroom learning

Contact Mase Mebane for More Information

At Mase Mebane, we understand the devastating impact that the novel coronavirus has had on our communities. We represent people who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 or the government-ordered shutdowns, including those who have contracted the virus at a nursing home, grocery store, or residential buildings. 

In addition to personal injury and wrongful death cases, our attorneys represent individuals in consumer protection claims and whistleblower lawsuits related to COVID-fraud. Call (844) 627-3529 or fill out our online contact form to discuss your case. 

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