I don’t know about everyone else, but I am in a panic right now. Anxiety is very, very ruthless when there is so much uncertainty in the world.
For starters, before all this coronavirus stuff happened, I was beginning a job search for the fall. I am extremely saddened that I could potentially have to wait another year to make such a big change, and obviously none of that is guaranteed. It would’ve been hard to find a new job, regardless of this pandemic. I feel like because of everything that’s going on, the goal I had set and planned out for myself is totally impossible. Now I am applying to whatever jobs I find, but I am really having no luck.
That being said, I am absolutely terrified about returning to work in the fall, at my current school. The state has said that distancing 3 feet between teachers/students/other students will be fine. My classroom is way too small to have all of the students there and still follow this rule. I usually have around 30 kids per class, and I teach two classes. I am terrified to switch back and forth, and I am not even an electives teacher who would need to travel between many more classes. Kids are germ-y. I love them, but they spread germs like wildfire.
When I got the flu February, the doctor told me NOT to go back to school for a week, and that was only because I braved urgent care.
When I got back to school, several kids told me they had fevers and their parents STILL sent them to school. So I was exposed to possibly getting the flu AGAIN, after missing a week of work! It was very frustrating. Now I know that the flu and coronavirus aren’t exactly the same. I didn’t fear for my life with the flu. I am a pretty healthy adult, with no underlying health conditions. So I bounced back quickly from the flu, with rest and taking care of myself. But I am an adult. I made the decision to not strain myself.
You know there are adults out there who work when they feel sick. I am one of them. I have definitely pushed myself too hard in the past. The scary part is, someone who has coronavirus might not even feel sick! And not everyone gets a fever. So there’s no way to tell if someone has the virus without the actual test, and not everyone can afford that, has access to it, and let’s face it, wants to put them through the torture. Not only that, but tests take time, and by the time you get results, others might have been exposed to the virus.
Kids touch everything. There was a camp, in Missouri or Mississippi, I think, that just reported 82 cases!! Now those kids and staff will go home, infecting their families and friends, when it was totally avoidable. First of all, I don’t understand why they were even allowed to open in the first place! Is summer camp fun and an awesome experience? Absolutely! Is it an essential experience for the kids to have in the middle of a pandemic? NO WAY. Second of all, the parents who made the decision to send their kids there must be feeling very uncomfortable with their decision-making, at least I hope so! Third of all, let me restate that this was totally AVOIDABLE.
All the teachers/staff I have talked to, regardless of where they live and work, are absolutely terrified to go back to work. I need my job. I really do. And I love kids, but I don’t love kids enough to watch any of my students get sick or die. I don’t love it enough for a student to spread germs to a teacher who gets sick or dies. We simply have never had the funding for something like this, or the basic things we need, how is now going to be any different?
I strongly believe that there is no reason to open schools in the fall. I don’t feel that it’s worth risking ONE person’s life, a child, a parent, a staff, a teacher, an administrator, a family member. Nobody’s life is worth the risk. We are all precious human beings who deserve to feel safe when we go back.
Someone made the argument that teachers and students are already at risk with school shootings. That person should be ashamed of themselves. We shouldn’t have to be at risk of any of these things, especially things like pandemics and shootings, which can be avoided if the right protections are put in place. Our children should not have to feel that school is an unsafe place.
If one parent pulls their kid out of school, then that shows that there is a risk. I know parents are doing that everywhere.
Now, I obviously have mixed feelings about online learning. I don’t know how it is effective for ALL students’ learning in the long-term. Right now is not a time where things are normal. We know it’s a short-term solution. However, if it keeps my students from dying or getting sick, then I am all for it.
These are just some of the things I am feeling as I panic about going back to work in the fall. Please keep our children safe.