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Pinellas teachers union, district no closer to solution on 'simultaneous teaching' concerns

Some Pinellas County teachers say they cannot continue to feasibly teach both in-person and virtual classrooms at the same time.

LARGO, Fla. — Teachers union representatives and district administrators ended a two-hour meeting Monday evening no closer to a solution to address concerns raised about "simultaneous teaching" as both sides appeared they couldn’t even agree on the scope of the issue.

District leaders contend they are addressing specific issues as they’re made aware and that fewer than 100 teachers still had unresolved concerns.  

But representatives with the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association argued their own poll showed nearly 70 percent of respondents were unhappy with the policy.

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While union reps say they'd like for the district to just scrap its "simultaneous teaching" policy, district leaders say that would require more classes and more teachers, something it can't afford right now.

"What we want to do is make sure when we have that conversation about doing it in a mass way, can we do it within our means," deputy superintendent Bill Corbett said.

Union president Nancy Velardi requested the district lead its own survey of all teachers. But district officials remained noncommittal.

"They keep saying they want to talk about solutions," Velardi said. "But they want to talk about their solutions which are, granted, ways to make it a little easier for the teachers in the classroom while they're doing simultaneous but the teachers want rid of it."

Thousands of people—teachers included—have signed a petition calling on the district to change it’s "simultaneous teaching" policy. Many teachers say they’re simply overwhelmed and the situation is doing a disservice for all students.

Currently, 52 percent of teachers in the district are teaching both in-person and virtually at the same time, according to a district spokesperson, while 36 percent of teachers are fully in-person and 12 percent of teachers are totally virtual.

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