‘I am Prepared to Get Sick’: Florida Teachers Offered Free Living Wills as Schools Reopen
Some Florida lawyers are offering free living wills for teachers who will need to return to classrooms in the coming school year.
Tampa Bay lawyer Charles Gallagher from Gallagher & Associates told NBC News that he wanted to offer free living wills for teachers after seeing a sign in a protest saying, "Teacher supplies: books, crayons, and wills."
In a report from The Hill, he said around 600 teachers and school staffs have asked about free or discounted living wills from his firm.
The document gives medical professionals legal instructions for a person's choice of care when the time that they can't communicate directly comes.
From Teachers to First Responders
Gallagher heard a story of one teacher saying she's thinking of just quitting her job to protect herself. He found it "heartbreaking" that people feel like they have to quit the jobs they love because of safety concerns.
He added that he read about three teachers in Arizona, who went to school to work on a project and contracted the virus and one of them dying from the disease. He was "taken aback by the story."
But he wasn't the only one. Advocates have placed warnings on the risks of sending teachers and students going to school when the status of the virus in Florida had not turned for the better.
Another law firm in Orlando is also offering living wills at a lower price. Jen Englert, its managing partner said they are giving the same discount as they did with first responders and medical professionals.
The firm had been offering discounted living wills for some time, but did not provide it for teachers before. "It hadn't occurred to us to do teachers until they came to us," Englert said.
He said the he thinks the pandemic has made people realize that they can't take their chances of having a loved one tell the doctors how they want to be cared for, especially if the coronavirus calls for people to be set apart from others in hospitals.
"People don't want to think about their death, but the coronavirus highlights the importance of estate planning," he said.
In their own way, the firm believed they are giving help the way they know how to. Around 800 people, mostly from Central Florida, have reached out to the law firm in a two-day period.
Schools Reopening in Florida
The question as to when schools have to reopen in Florida is still a topic filled with conflict. Just this Monday, the state's largest teachers' union sued Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran over the administration's push towards a full in-person school reopening next month.
The emergency order said all public schools have to open at the start of the academic school year as reopening schools will not only help students' academic and social growth but also help Florida in "hitting its full economic stride."
Concerns on the coming reopening had not been absent in Florida. Teachers, in particular, expressed concerns for their own health. One teacher told Business Insider: "I totally am preparing to get sick."
Coronavirus cases in Florida are still surging, leaving teachers worried that they will have to come to work with higher risks of coming in contact with the virus.