No this isn’t click bait. You read that right. I may have COVID-19. Am I upset? Of course. We have taken all the necessary precautions at work but two of my students have caught it. We all know that I was not really excited about going back in the physical classroom this school year and my opinions have not really changed on that.
First of all, I totally get that not every parent is able to keep their kids at home and my heart goes out to them. I don’t think it’s fair that they have to choose between going to work and having money for their households and putting themselves and their children at risk. So don’t get it twisted. I don’t think it’s fair to them. Not every one has the luxury to stay home and work and to keep their kids at home. Again, I blame the government for not making it possible for these parents to have the option of staying home while supporting these families financially. Other countries have found a way to support their citizens financially whereas our government gave is a one-time check for $1,200 (how was that going to help us?). I am grateful we even got that but I’m just thinking of those who have more than just themselves that are dependent on them.
I’m just so angry because well, our school dropped the ball on us. First of all, they gave us minimal PPE at work. At the beginning of the year, we all received some gloves (not a pack…some), 1 bottle of hand sanitizer, and 1 small pack a wipes. That’s it! Everything else came out of our pockets (like always). They told us that they’ll give us a mask…we got one from them last month. Even though we have less than our normal amount of students in class, i have two class periods where I’m running out of seats to keep the students safely distant from each other. Another issue is that when someone has COVID, they don’t let us know! One of the teachers that some of my students have, caught COVID. Did the school let us know? No not right away. I believe it was only after the fact that word got around that they actually said something to us.
We’ve had students in elementary catch the virus and we all know how children are walking petri dishes. Once, I had a student (who comes to school twice a week) out for a few weeks. We got an email to not mark the student absent because he would be home for a couple of weeks (which needed app being 3-4 weeks). It wasn’t until the student returned to the building that he told me the real reason he was out: he had COVID. I was horrified. Admin did not mention this at all to us nor did they send us an email saying someone had COVID (we know they tell us specifically who but they should still let us know we MIGHT have come into contact with someone who tested positive). For my second student who caught the virus, the mom actually emailed all her teachers to let us know that she tested positive for the virus. I forwarded the email to my principal who didn’t respond to it. The next day, I asked to take a half day to go get tested which was denied. I felt deeply upset by it. I made an appointment to go to CVS to get tested that week, which when I did, I got a negative diagnosis (the test was self administered and I got my results back 4 days later). The Friday we went to break, they made an announcement during the morning announcements that they wanted all the middle school teachers to turn in their seating charts, for obvious reasons. It wasn’t required before because our students didn’t sit in the same spot (It was previously a requirement for elementary teachers).
They recently opened the cafeteria up for students to eat in. While I’m happy to have my lunch back, I was still horrified at the sight that I saw. The kids were not socially distant. Not everyone was wearing masks when they weren’t eating. It’s honestly a disaster waiting to happen. The dean did note that it was an oversight and that she would adjust the schedule so that not that many kids will be in the cafeteria at once, but time will tell. Each week, we have more and more students returning to school. I fear that our numbers will go up. In Florida, our numbers are steadily rising…again. In fact all over the country the cases are going up…again.
In some states, like Michigan, they are deciding to have a mini shutdown, with schooling retuning to virtual learning. I wonder if we will get like that. Honestly speaking, I would prefer it because it keeps us safe but our governor has not said anything about the cases rising in the state; he has gone radio silent on the matter. I have no hope in this case. I feel like schools should put the health of their students, faculty, and themselves first. Yes there are aspects of virtual learning that is hurting the student academically (not everyone can learn from home) but I rather have them and ourselves alive. At the end of the day, being alive is what matters the most and that should take precedent over these temporary inconveniences. At the end of the day, this is temporary, if we all do our part to keep each other safe.
What can I do? I wear my mask all the time, I have the kids wipe down their areas, I can Lysol whatever surfaces I can, and I can take some Vitamin C supplements (like Tone It up’s newest Vitamin C gummies which you can find here). I got a flu shot (which I know that the flu and COVID-19 are NOT the same, just something I do every year as a precaution).
It hurts and upsets me when people assume that teachers are being lazy or we don’t care, which could not be more further from the truth! We love our kids. We’re stressed out. We’re scared. We’re seeing real people in our lives get sick and some have died from this pandemic. Everyday, we are given new rules and are expected to just switch things around at moment’s notice. We did not sign up to die at the expense of others, especially those who aren’t taking this virus seriously. We’re hurting. We had a teacher shortage before this pandemic and sadly, the number of those leaving this field continues to rise.
Take care of yourselves.