Volusia teacher reads will as school board considered back-to-school options

Headlines

WESH 2| By Claire Metz | July 22, 2020

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —

“I didn’t do that as a publicity stunt,” Amy Hawkins said.

Hawkins has taught school for a decade and says she’s known nothing but joy, until now.

Hawkins says she feels nothing but fear if obligated to return to brick-and-mortar schooling.

“We lack the material supplies, whether it be PPE or disinfectants or even hand soap to maintain our schools,” Hawkins said.

As the school board considered three back-to-school plans and reopening dates, the public was invited to participate virtually. Parents and teachers raised concerns about in-person learning.

Hawkins read part of her recently prepared will instructing her loved ones to file a lawsuit should she die of COVID-19.

“If I die because you reopened schools, I will hold you personally accountable because I’m scared to go back,” Hawkins read.

Hawkins has an autoimmune disease that leaves her vulnerable to illness, but she says she’s worried about any teacher, staff member, student returning to Volusia County Schools amid the pandemic. The school board had issues with the districts janitorial service even before COVID-19 appeared.

“We’re creating an unsafe working environment and I don’t know any organization where we can willingly do that,” Hawkins said.

The president of the local teachers union said in-person learning shouldn’t even be a possibility until the county’s positivity rate is under 5% for 14 days.

Hawkins says there are other considerations.

“I think we should reopen schools when we can adequately say that we’ve done everything we can to provide a safe learning environment for our students and a safe working environment for our adults,” Hawkins said.