ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - President-elect Joe Biden is proposing a $170 billion plan to help open the majority of K through 8 schools within the first 100 days of his administration.
Florida schools are already offering face-to-face learning, but local educators say this money could help ensure more safeguards are in place.
In Biden’s "American Rescue Plan" he says the money will be used to reduce class sizes, hire more janitors and buy PPE among other things, but a former teacher says Biden’s plan won’t make her feel safe enough to go back to teaching.
"I've been working as a teacher in my entire life," says Yanira Aleman, a former Orange County teacher.
But in September 2020, Aleman says she had to quit when she was told she had to go back to face-to-face teaching.
"My husband suffers heart conditions. My daughter is immune-compromised and I have kidney issues. So we are all in the high-risk bracket."
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Aleman says she can’t risk going back to teaching—even with President-elect Biden’s proposed plan to safely help K-8 schools reopen within the first 100 days of his administration— that’s the end of April.
Keep in mind, some school districts end the year at the end of May. Biden’s plan calls for $130 billion to modify spaces for proper social distancing, improve ventilation, and hire more janitors and buy PPE.
"Any help that is directed to them, to the education field, is definitely going to help."
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Wendy Doromal, president of Orange County Classroom Teachers says the possibility of more money could help with hiring more teachers to create smaller classroom sizes.
She says 100,000 students are in the classroom now and teachers are uneasy.
"They don't feel that they're safe. There cannot be adequate social distancing in a classroom with 30 students right now."
Doromal says she hopes Biden will make the call to keep some schools closed if COVID cases are going up and is hopeful teachers will start getting access to the vaccine soon.
Aleman says she can only go back to teaching when one thing happens.
"For me on my end, a matter of seeing the numbers going down, really going down."
President-elect Biden’s plan has to be approved by Congress before any money will be made available to schools.