Decision time for this teacher

I’m to report back for teacher pre-planning in 2 weeks.  I’m okay with that.  The school year start for kids  has been postponed by 3 additional weeks while we figure out things in case we have to teach on a digital platform.  Okay.  But…

With today’s COVID-19 number higher than what forced the schools to close in mid-March, why are we even having this conversation about F2F instruction ramping back up in 5 weeks?

I have to be totally selfish here. My husband is considered part of the high risk category due to his cancer diagnosis. I have high blood pressure. We’re both under age 60, which is in our favor according to COVID-19 stats. However,  I don’t need to bring anything home to him – or my elderly parents.

If they want me to work from school 8 hours per day to prove that I’m working, I’m fine with that.  When we left at the end of May, we were under the impression that each classroom would have about 15 kids in it. This scenario with masks or partitions and frequent cleaning is doable.  This is assuming the kids stay with the same group the entire day. This is what has worked in daycare facilities. My reality: we’re expecting 25-30 kids in each classroom.

Our administration talks like things are going to be business as usual. Kids are going to eat together in the cafeteria, go to the bathroom in groups, go to specials en masse  and have ASP.  Hand sanitizer stations  will be placed throughout the building and social distancing whenever possible will be observed.  Masks are “expected” for adults and “strongly encouraged” for kids.  Water fountains will be turned off. Snack/drink machines be will disabled.

Don’t even get me thinking about what the library is going to look like. I’ve visited both public library systems in my area that have reopened and talked to my library colleagues about concerns for reopening. As long as I don’t have classes, I’m okay. Students will be there only a few minutes for book exchange. Older ones can self-checkout and I can train “library helpers” for each class to handle small group check-out. Any lessons will be taken to classrooms. This, of course, is assuming that I have a full-time parapro next year who can watch the library while I go to the classrooms to deliver instruction.

Frankly, I don’t see how it’s going to work with business as usual while the virus rages unchecked.

For now, I’ll wear gloves and a mask while I’m at work. I’ve been stocking cleaning supplies for the past few months. I have wipes and disinfectant spray for the library only. My mission is to keep the library space clean, disinfected and the library staff safe.

After 9/11, I had no problem getting back on an airplane. I’m not scared to live my life. However, my circumstances are very different this time.

Decision:  the moment I feel my family’s health is in jeopardy because I returned to work is the moment I request a LOA. If that is not possible, then I will ask to be released from my contract. It’s simply not worth it.