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Episode 1: Covid Conundrum

The global pandemic has impacted all aspects of life but perhaps none more so than the teaching and learning. In our inaugural episode, co-hosts Tina Dunbar and Luke Flynt sit down with a Cristal Atlas, a teacher from Broward County and Alachua County school bus driver Tarfanisha Phillips. Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union (BTU), and Carmen Ward, president of the Alachua County Education Association (ACEA),  join the conversation as well.

You’ll hear firsthand how educators are working against all odds to keep students safe and healthy while also providing the best education possible. All that, and more as we tackle how to grapple with this Covid Conundrum.


Show Highlights

7:05 | “People have a right to know. They should have a choice to come back to work or go get tested. Or if they really had close contact to be quarantined. It’s, it’s not fair to everyone else. And how about the parents? Don’t they have a right to know that the child in her class tested positive and their child was next to them.” — BTU President Anna Fusco

15:03 | “I’m exhausted. I’m tired. I don’t sleep through the night because I’m worried about what’s going to happen the next day or what I’m going to do. What’s going to happen to my children. What’s going to happen to my mother-in-law. What can happen to my husband? We each have our own health issues.” — Cristal Atlas, teacher

19:32 | “Nobody tells us anything. We have to find out either from the person that transportation that was positive or, you know, gossip, or, you know, just. Other people, the news, I found out, uh, several cases for me, the news, and I’m like, Hey, wait, I transported them to the football game. If the whole JV and varsity and the coaches are out. What about the bus driver that took them to the game? You understand what I’m saying.. Uh, I’m, I’m always on pins and needles. I’m scared. I’m always stressed out about going to work and it’s never, ever been like this.” — Tarfanisha Phillips, bus driver

26:17 | “We’ve lost many, many employees too, to this pandemic. Because they have in their own safety over there, their jobs, and we’ve lost many educators from teachers to support staff, to bus drivers. Many people have stepped away from there, from their career.” — ACEA President Carmen Ward


Additional Resources

  1. COVID-19 ADA Denial Legal Relief Program. The FEA Legal Department is pleased to introduce its legal representation program for Covid-19 related accommodation denials. FEA Legal previously developed an ADA toolkit for locals to use. Locals have expressed that due to the nature and extensive impact of Covid-19, additional support is essential. In addition to the toolkit, we will now provide support in terms of legal representation. To learn more about the program, please click here.
  2. Self-care looks different for every educator. It’s vitally important for everyone to find the best approach to managing anxiety and maintaining good emotional health during stressful moments. Here are some useful resources from our national affiliates:
  1. FEA’s Safe Schools Report is an effort to collect and display important, factual information surrounding the opening of school campuses across the state.
  2. Learn how to build a positive classroom. The FEA Professional Development and Educational Research Department is hosting a statewide virtual professional learning community (PLC) focused on NEA’s “Building a Positive Classroom Community with Affective Language.” In this micro-credential, you will work on a project designed to directly help you in your professional practices. Please join us on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. EST starting on Dec. 8 and finishing Feb. 9. Contact Charley at charley.mcclaren@floridaea.org for more information, or register today to be part of the first statewide group! Read more about NEA’s PDF Building a Positive Classroom Community with Affective Language (PDF, 2 MB).

We want to hear from you

Email your feedback, ideas, and suggestions for future shows to heart@floridaea.org; or call us to leave a voice message at 850-201-3384. Tell your colleagues, friends, and family about Educating From the Heart.  Subscribe and find show archives at feaweb.org/podcast.

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