2. The burden on teachers
The debate over whether and how much to reopen schools in the fall has put teachers in the precarious position of choosing between their own safety and pressures from parents and local officials, Axios' Kim Hart and Marisa Fernandez write.
- Why it matters: The people we depend on to educate our society's children may end up bearing the brunt of both the risk and the workload.
Michelle Albright, a second grade teacher from northwest Indiana, said: "We as teachers prepare for active shooters, tornadoes, fires — and I’m fully prepared to take a bullet or shield a child from falling debris during a tornado."
- "But if I somehow get it and I’m asymptomatic and I get a student sick and something happens to them or one of their family members, that's a guilt I would carry with me forever."
Among the worries for teachers:
1. Exposure: Despite a child's overall low health risk if they contract COVID-19, scientists still do not conclusively know if schools could become hotspots for more vulnerable populations.
- Schools are on a time and money crunch for better ventilation, more disinfectant and masks and proper social distancing techniques. If a cluster of cases do occur, teachers and parents are short on answers about how to isolate students and contact trace.
- Districts were already facing staffing shortages before the pandemic.
2. Difficulty of a hybrid approach: Many teachers will have to prepare virtual and in-person lessons, and ensure the same learning outcomes for students in both settings — a tall order.
- In-person contact with a teacher can make a big difference for students struggling with a concept.
3. Child care: Teachers with children of their own are concerned about how to care for them when they are teaching.
4. Concerns of other school staff: Bus drivers, custodians, classroom aides, administrative staff, cafeteria workers, school nurses and substitute teachers may come in contact with more children throughout the day, because they are less likely than teachers to be confined to a single classroom.