Teachers are protesting school reopenings: ‘nobody seems to care about’ teachers

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As we discussed last week, school districts across the country are debating whether they will re-open at the start of the school year. Unfortunately, the discussion has become a hotbed for debate with the federal government pressuring schools to open up for in person education. This charge is being led by a POTUS who is cancelling his own scheduled campaign convention – his favorite activity in the world – due to health concerns and his robotic minion who has an unnatural taste for public school blood, Betsy DeVos. Although those of us in California took so many precautions, the virus is raging through the population. Many of our counties are on Gov Newsom’s Watch List (or, as we call it, his Naughty List) and we have been informed our school will not open unless we get ourselves off the Naughty List. We, as parents, are trying to decide what’s best for our kids, weighing the psychological factors with the threat to health. However, those getting lost in the discussion are the nation’s teachers, who are being forced to risk their lives so the current administration can forward their misguided campaign to appear as if everything is back to normal. But educators are pushing back, protesting that it simply isn’t fair to ask them to take this risk. Many will leave the field if they are forced to make this choice.

Teachers across the country have begun organizing protests to voice concerns about the Trump administration’s push for schools to reopen in the fall despite the coronavirus pandemic and to pressure school districts to delay the start of face-to-face instruction.

Educators who have been organizing independently in cities across the United States told BuzzFeed News they’re frustrated by the Trump administration’s campaign to return to school with no national plan to keep teachers and students from spreading the coronavirus and little to no funding for personal protective equipment.

Organizers from education advocacy movements like Red for Ed, which sparked a national movement for more school funding and better pay for teachers in 2018 and 2019, are focusing on whether and when teachers and students should return to classrooms as coronavirus cases surge.

“It’s one of those things where the teachers have been like, ‘I’ve been taken advantage of for one year, five years, 32 years, and now you’re putting my physical well-being in jeopardy — it’s not worth this, and that’s something that teachers don’t take lightly,” Lisa Ellis, the founder of the South Carolina for Education movement, told BuzzFeed News. “A decision to leave the classroom weighs very heavily on a teacher’s decision. We’ve been told, ‘Well, just do it for the children!’ and the gaslighting that goes along with that, but it’s finally like, ‘Nope! At the end of the day, my life and my health is more important than any of this!’”

In school districts across the country, teachers are organizing motor protests at state capitols, writing letters to governors and state legislators, and pressuring school boards to consider delaying the start of in-school instruction until the coronavirus outbreaks begin to subside in their communities. And in the weeks leading up to the start of the school year, many teachers have begun voicing concerns about their districts’ lack of plans about keeping them safe if they do return to classrooms.

“This is going to tip teachers that were already on the fence about not teaching any longer into the territory of this is certainly not worth it, if they were thinking, Maybe I can hang in a little bit longer,” Ellis said. “The number one concern is the fact that nobody seems to care about the physical risk of teachers going back into the classroom — even with the hybrid models that are being presented, the students may not be there all week, but the teachers have to be there all five, and we have to work with all of the students.”

[From Buzzfeed News]

As CB reported, there are teachers writing out their wills and getting their affairs in order before they head back to the classroom. Think about that. All of this for a job that generally pays below a livable wage. The main issue, as the article said, is that plans to safely allow people to return to an enclosed learning environment are not being made available. Maybe they are in the works, maybe they’re currently being vetted, but they are not being made available to teachers, who are forced to consider the worst-case scenario. The good news is Red for Ed is involved along with teachers’ unions across the country. These are strong organizations and when they fight, they generally win. Most people assume that teachers work in such lousy conditions because they can’t fight for better but that’s not true. CB, Kaiser and I are all kids of public-school teachers (Oya herself taught overseas, too) and we can tell you that teachers don’t strike often because they always consider how the students will be impacted first. Obviously, the teachers are fighting as much for the students’ safety as their own. This is a fight they can win, but they will need our support.

As the article also pointed out, we stand to lose droves of valuable teachers if the government insists on this ridiculous reopening course of action. I realize a vaccine isn’t around the corner, but there have been successful trials, at least one of which is in its final stage. The whole world is working on a solution, not to mention the financial incentive to be the first to market it. Maybe the only safe way to send kids back to US schools is to wait for a vaccine. Virtual school is not working in our home, I feel that as much as my kids. I’m so very sorry that students have to go through this but if distance learning is the only safe option, I will do whatever they need to make it last. It is not worth risking our kids’ precious lives.

Just think, once we figure the pandemic out we can focus on the other issues school face like school shootings, bullying, racism, biased school track systems…

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188 Responses to “Teachers are protesting school reopenings: ‘nobody seems to care about’ teachers”

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  1. Neners says:

    My mom and big sister are teachers and seeing the way their lives and health have been totally dismissed by so many people has been nothing short of devestating. Teachers don’t stop existing when your children walk out their classroom doors. They are parents and grandparents, they are spouses. They are not babysitters. They are not healthcare providers or soldiers. They did not sign up to put their lives at risk doing their job. They are not canon fodder. It’s revolting that this even needs to be stated.

    • Desdemona says:

      Thank you for your words… As a teacher I feel the disrespect towards us around the globe. Being a teacher is wonderful but yes, we do Hava a life besides school and we’re not babysitters… And school is supposed to be to help people be better and have a better future and Learn skills… But teachers are seen as babysitters and schools are deposits of children. It’s saddening…

      • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

        I taught 3rd gr. for 30 yrs. I had to retire earlier than planned (6 yrs. ago) for health reasons. Over the span I taught, we (in the L.A. school district) only had TWO major strikes. That’s how seriously we take it. We also take a LOT of ^&$# from parents, administration, and yes, the kids. We spend thousands a year on our classroom supplies (I averaged $2-4K/yr on books, paper, pencils, Kleenex etc) because otherwise, our kids suffer. We do this because we loved to teach.

        But NOW??? During a pandemic of a HIGHLY contagious virus??? Nope! Not a chance in hell. Kids are Petri dishes in the BEST of times. Even if I was younger and healthier, there is NO WAY IN HELL I would allow myself to be closed up in a classroom 7:45 am -3 pm, with inadequate ventilation, minimal to no sanitary supplies, and with 20-30 kids who rotate in and out, 5 days a week (incl staying IN the class for lunch, eating, so no masks on). These kids are bringing in the germs from EVERY SINGLE PERSON they and their families are in contact with EVERY SINGLE DAY. The *kids* may only be there 2 days a week; teachers are there *5*. Plus weekly meetings. Plus parent conferences. Plus planning time, prep time.

        Also, think about the last time you tried to keep a jacket on a little kid. They take them off, they hang from the shoulders, or just plain forget them. Do you think a 5, 6, 7, 8 yr. old will keep their masks on for 7 hrs. a day?? Do you think you can keep kids at least 3-5 ft. apart in a small classroom?? Good luck with that.

        I am also the main caretaker for my elderly dad (who has his own co-morbidities like congestive heart failure, blood clots in one lung, and high blood pressure). I would be taking EVERYTHING these kids bring in home to my family. Nope… you couldn’t pay me enough to do this now.

      • Neners says:

        Absolutely. Teaching is a talent and a skill. as many people around the world are figuring out as they try to partially step into that role with remote learning. Teachers have been undervalued by our society while simultaneously being used as the makeshift glue holding it together, wearing hats they should never have had to wear. My sister will draw a line in the sand, I know. If they try to make her go back under current circumstances, she will quit if necessary. It’s my mom I’m terrified for the most. I’ve seen the love and hard work my mom pours into educating her students. She would stay in her classroom until 8 or 9 every night if she were allowed to. This is one of those situations where I’ve had to step in and tell her, “I know you love what you do. I know it’s a calling and I know your students need you. But we are your family; we need you too. And if it comes down to it, retire early. It’s not worth your life.” Sorry to unload. I’ve been panicking about all of this ever since they started pressuring schools to reopen. What little concern has been expressed about reopeninf has been centered on the students. No one seems to care what happens to staff and faculty. It’s infuriating!

      • Mel M says:

        @Jan, thank you for your 30 years and I agree with everything you’ve said which is why we have decided to do online school for our second grader. I don’t trust him for a second to actually wear a mask all day and I am not sending him to school without one. I also can’t imagine the amount of work they are expecting from these poorly paid teachers who have families of their own. Our districts plan is giving parents a choice for the most part to either do remote or in class but in class requires masks and other things during certain “levels” of the plan. They are not giving teachers that much more makeup/prep time for having to teach to both the remote students and the in class students. I feel like it’s going to be a cluster and we live in a red county so parents are already going crazy about the masks. We had a scare earlier in the summer when an adult decided that they didn’t want to do the responsible thing and instead did the easiest thing for them and I will never put my family in that position again. I don’t trust anyone to do the responsible thing anymore.

      • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

        Thank you, @Mel.

        I think you are making the best decision for your child. I kills me that it has come to this, for you, and every other parent and teacher having to make such hard decisions (stay/resign/work/stay home (and how??)). We shouldn’t have had to do this. *&*^%$% Tangerine Twitler and all of his complicit, corrupt admin.

      • justwastingtime says:

        Huge respect for you and all the teachers on this site and everywhere..

        In LA we are not being given a choice, everything is going to be remote for my rising 6th grader and I am okay with that. My older child’s college has not even fully decided and school is 5 weeks away… Ug.

    • Sayrah says:

      I don’t understand equating teachers to babysitters. They are professionals who provide an essential service. We pay taxes to have our children educated and I’d say most of us come from 2 working parent households. How are we supposed to work and be on zoom calls with our kids for 5+ hours a day while keeping our jobs to be able to pay for our homes and those taxes? This is a mess

      • KL says:

        You say you don’t understand equating teachers to babysitters, but then your complaint is that having the kids at home makes it difficult to do your job? That’s not focusing on their education or how being sent back into the general public will affect them — that’s saying, “I need someone else to take these kids off my hands.”

        I’m curious: how well will you be able to do your job if your kids get seriously ill? Or if you do, because they carried something home?

        Also, that “we pay taxes” line sounds a lot like you’re saying, “we do our job, you should do yours!” You job, by your own admission, keeps you safe at home. Why do you believe an incredibly low salary is enough for someone to risk their life on the daily, when that was never what they signed up for? They DO provide an essential service — one that can be performed at exponentially lower risk. Why put them at the front lines, if they’re so essential? (Again: why put KIDS on the front lines?)

      • goofpuff says:

        Why don’t you hire a nanny or tutor? I know may dual income parents working from home who have done that. Make a social bubble. If you’re comfortable with sending kids back to school with 800 others, a nanny isn’t that big of a deal.

      • Sayrah says:

        @kl My husband and I are both working outside the home. How are we supposed to keep our jobs if we’re doing teachers’ jobs at home too?

      • Sayrah says:


        “Hire someone” is a very privileged thing to say. Will we get the money back we would be paying for public schools to do so?

      • Kkat says:

        All your saying is you need someone to watch your kids so you can work (babysitter)
        And you are resentful that teachers don’t want to die or be responsible for killing thier families.
        You feel you’re entitled to a underpaid teacher risking thier life to watch your kid.
        Since you don’t care about the health aspects, find some other people that don’t give a crap about health and pool your money and hire some people to babysit your kids.

        The teachers pay the same damn taxes you do, why should they be the ones risking thier lives

      • Vonnegut3 says:

        You chose to have kids. It isn’t the responsibility of a school system to provide babysitting services for them. I’m sorry you are in this situation, but these are things you need to work through without putting blame on teachers. Teachers didn’t force you to have kids. Very little of your taxes go to schools, but regardless, they are offering the best option for staff and students in the middle of a PANDEMIC. If you don’t like the option that is being offered, then send them to a private school. If that isn’t an option, I’m sorry. There are many issues with public education (18 year veteran here)- schools must reopen with no guidance on how this can happen safely using CDC’s guidance because parents need to go to work is just another slap in the face. They, as are you, are essentially calling us glorified babysitters. If I had known that it was simply babysitting, my bank account would be much healthier not having to pay for a BA and three master‘s degrees. Teachers are tired of being crapped on physically/emotionally with impossible expectations and working well beyond their salaried work day because they have no choice in the matter. So please stop with the ‘who is going to watch my kids-I pay taxes’ bollocks. Teachers are done being blamed and bullied!

  2. Liz version 700 says:

    As a former teacher I can say that this is accurate. I spent 4 years feeling like my observations were not noticed, my feeling were irrelevant and my spot was expendable. All of this fun and in 1998 when I left teaching I was making $21,000. Just wait… there are going to be massive retirements and even in this economy people are going to strike or quit. Loved the kids when I taught. Hated the bureaucracy.

    • Swack says:

      Retired teacher here and you expressed my feelings exactly. Especially this: “Loved the kids when I taught. Hated the bureaucracy.” Teachers are the first on education that are expected to give up things, i.e. decent pay raises, small, manageable class sizes, supplies (which they then end up buying themselves), etc.

      • Indywom says:

        Retired educator here. I hate the way that people have tried to convince teachers that they should be okay with low pay because they love children. Or settle for not having proper supplies. And now the gall of asking these same people to risk their lives and those of their loved ones because the politicians want to get re-elected. The same politicians who cut benefits, vote against pay raises and cut school budgets. Also the same fools who fail to recognize that when this next round of teachers retire, there are few people to replace them because who needs the stress.

    • Miss V says:

      As a current teacher… all of this is still valid. The love of teaching and bonding with your kids (because you do feel like they are your kids when they are in the classroom) can sometimes be overshadowed by the pressure from the school department and the feeling of being under appreciated and completely replaceable at any time.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Completely agree!

  3. Millennial says:

    My kids are 4 and 20 months – they’ve been in daycare since mid-June. They are too little to not be watched constantly. For 4~ months I was watching them all day and then working from home all night and weekend when my husband wasnt working. It was exhausting and horrible for my mental health. Not sustainable for the long term.

    Everyone keeps suggesting forming a “pod” but my husband is a hospital worker – I can’t imagine anyone wants to be in pods with high risk essential workers.

    So basically my options are quit my job or rely on daycare (I work in academia and those jobs are impossible to get in the first place, so quitting would literally be career-ending). I feel horrible for the daycare workers. I don’t know what else to do. If y’all have other options or ideas, let me know.

    • El says:

      I think everyone realizes that SOME teachers/daycare workers will have to work. But they should be given a choice, not a shove. People who are younger, healthier, people who live alone or at least without any immunocompromised family members may be fine with working. On the flip side, they should be given small groups of kids to work with, plenty of supplies, and, perhaps, better (and hazard?) pay? I think if all of that happens, you don’t have to feel bad.
      It’s when schools say “we’ve no idea how you’re going to distance your 40 kids in the classroom where they already barely fit, we can’t find wipes anywhere, but you must sanitize everything, make sure you keep masks on 40 kids at all times, and go to Home Depot and make your own separators out of pipes and shower curtains, and we don’t care that you have an immunocompromised kid or an elderly mother or that you’re yourself diabetic” that teachers get angry. That DeBot keep saying “we must safely reopen” with a demure smile without answering a single question and providing a single answer as to HOW we can do it safely.

    • goofpuff says:

      Hire a nanny. That is what my friends who just really need daycare are doing. Spend the money, give up any luxuries for this. If you can afford daycare, you can afford this.

      • Blondie says:

        Hiring a nanny is easily two to three times as expensive as daycare. The average daycare where I live costs $300 a week per child. Nannies charge $15-20 an hour. I don’t know how much you make that you seem to think that most people have an extra $1,200 a month that they spend on “luxuries” to be able to cut out.

        On another note, what about all of the other school staff? The bus drivers, cafeteria staff, teachers’ aides, etc. are essential to schools functioning; teachers are merely a piece in this puzzle. How do these individuals feel about being jobless because they aren’t salaried like teachers and their jobs are not necessary during virtual learning? I have to imagine most (those that have held out thus far) will move on to alternative employment in order to make a living. What are the plans once schools are back in person and they have to hire to fill all of these positions in likely a very short window of time?

      • Kkat says:

        Blondie you do a nanny share
        You go in with someone or a couple families depending on the age of the kids.
        You all pay a part of the Nanny’s pay.
        People are doing this with teachers too, there are also a lot of sub teachers and college kids looking to do this.

    • Kkat says:

      Find other health care workers looking to build a pod. There are a bunch of people in my hospital in So California doing just that

  4. Aang says:

    I’m a teacher myself. An adjunct at a uni not k-12 but I have taught there before. To me this reeks of privilege. I care about teachers. But not more than I care about the clerks at Walmart or people who pack meat who work for a fraction of the pay teachers get, with no benefits. Where I live experienced teachers make 80-100k with full benefits, a pension, lifetime healthcare, tenure, and lots of time off. That’s what a powerful union can do. If the teacher’s union had been fighting this hard for grocery stores to be curbside pickup only when NY was peaking I would have more respect for them. But they only care for their own members not workers in general. And I do think schools should stay closed. Because I care about society in general not just teachers in particular.

    • Becks1 says:

      I’m not touching most of your post with a 10 foot pole, lol, but I’ll say that for me, keeping schools closed IS about society in general (I am not a teacher.) If a teacher is exposed and then exposes his or her whole family – and then maybe the spouse works in an environment where they cant stay home – then the spouse exposes their workplace – etc.

      For me, this issue isn’t just about teachers, its about limiting exposure in general.

      • Ragna says:

        I’m just going to point out that if a grocery store worker gets sick, they too can infect their family and those they live with. Grocery workers don’t all live vacuum sealed, solo lives where when they go home they interact with no one.

        Grocery workers have kids too, they have elderly parents, family members who are at risk. They might be at risk.

        Not all grocery stores have great ventilation and honestly, keeping it clean is a mammoth task.

        You can’t always disinfect between customers, the amount of hand sanitizer used has people getting dry skin that actually bleeds.

        I’m not saying teachers deserve to be used as canon fodder or that their health isn’t important.

        I am saying that they’re not the only ones who are at risk.

        And if you honestly think that grocery stores aren’t cutting corners where you can’t see it and that the workers aren’t being pushed to work regardless of what their circumstances are… You’re fooling yourself.

        Most of the things the stores have done is for YOUR benefit, the consumer, and doesn’t necessarily, or even at all, help the grocery store worker.

        Just because “grocery store workers already got help and attention” doesn’t mean that they don’t still need it or that the measures put in place was of any help aside from making you guys feel better.

        Grocery store workers don’t have unions or much, if any, way to capture the attention of the media the way a Union can so you won’t hear about it until some “woke” media publication does an exposé on it in 5-10 years at which point the worst will already have happened.

        Don’t think grocery store workers aren’t terrified of going to and being at work. Don’t think they’re not anxious, not sleeping well or hurting. Don’t be that ignorant or privileged.

        You can do that while still fighting for teachers.

      • Becks1 says:

        I 100% agree with what you said. I did not say a single word about “grocery store workers already getting help and attention.” I’m not sure why you’re aiming this post at me.

      • Ragna says:

        Sorry Becks1 I’m typing on mobile and I got ahead of myself when replying and didn’t double check which post I clicked reply to.

        I’m sorry! I was hasty and that’s on me!

      • Becks1 says:

        oh okay! Gotcha. I was confused but I can see where your comment makes sense in the overall comment thread. And like I said, I agree with you. Grocery store workers were on the front line of this and they were not as well protected (ESPECIALLY in the beginning) as some think they were.

      • Kelly says:

        The problem is that there’s no best solution for how to have the least worst outcome for teachers and students. The various options from all online, hybrid in person and online and in person all aren’t great for either teacher or students.

        I’m in Wisconsin where the largest school districts in the state are for the most part starting off the year with all online instruction. Smaller districts are opting for either a hybrid approach or in person. I live in one of the larger areas but don’t have kids. Given what knowledge I have about both race and socioeconomic demographics, I would not be surprised if maybe a couple of the area schools had more than 50% of their students regularly login last spring to do their coursework. Most went to a pass/fail system, with most kids being passed on.

        I had hoped that some reasonable voices who realize that the majority of students have parents who cannot work from home and were struggling to try to help their kids with their online schoolwork in the spring would be heard. Instead, it was the privileged minority of mostly white parents who can work from home that had their voices heard. At least, it’s only through the end of October and hopefully, the number of new cases keeps going down.

        I have family that teach in some of the more rural districts and they thought that online instruction last spring was a disaster. They weren’t adequately prepared or trained for it, because the whole concept was a vague what if for them prior to March. They also said that they were lucky if a third of their students logged on to do their coursework. Both teach in districts with high numbers of low income families and where home internet access is not an essential utility service, because some live in rural areas where it’s hard to get. They thought in June that it would be a hybrid model, even before the spike in numbers of infections earlier this month.

        I personally think the best way to convince people about the necessity of wearing masks and social distancing is to remind them that if they don’t, then they are stuck at home trying to muddle their way through online instruction for their kids for the near future. Knowing how skeptical some people are about that simple idea, including my own family, that would be the best argument.

    • superashes says:

      Why would a teachers union involve itself with grocery workers? Teachers don’t pay unions to go fight battles that aren’t related to their profession, and all the money and benefits in the world don’t matter when you are dead. Beyond that, you seem to be saying that because no one did enough for grocery workers who should have been protected, no one should bother trying to protect teachers either, which makes no sense.

      • El says:

        Sorry, you wrote while I was writing, but spot on, what a twisted way to address the problem.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        My thoughts exactly. Unions are paid using the funds that come from their members. Why would anyone expect a union to spend their money on non-members?

    • Indywom says:

      I would say that most people are going to look out for themselves. Teachers look out for kids all the time, why should they be tasked with looking out for other adults? Those adults can empower themselves and working with lots of children is a lot different than working In a factory or grocery store around other adults. And for all those benefits and supposed time off is such a draw, why are there teacher shortages around the country?

    • El says:

      So, once again, in America the solution to some workers fighting a good fight is to stop fighting it because other workers are losing it.
      Instead of getting mad at those who EMPLOY store clerks and meat packers and who have the power and resources to protect, incentivize, and reward their workers, you get mad at teachers for being “privileged”. The very notion that teachers are “privileged” because they have decent pay, healthcare, and retirement boggles my mind. We don’t call most other professions “privileged” for having the same, and most of them do NOT work as hard as teachers, take it from someone who taught elementary and then switched to the private sector.
      Instead of getting mad at (mostly Republican) legislators who have been passing anti-union laws right and left, resulting in many professions being unable to unionize, you get mad at teachers for being able to do it.
      Expecting a teachers’ union to fight for meat packers is ridiculous. I’m sure it’s somewhere right in the first paragraph of their organization charter – what their mission is and what they can and can’t do, and I sincerely doubt that meat packers are mentioned. I hope that if meat packers organize and strike, that teachers’ unions and teachers in general SUPPORT them, but sorry, they can’t fight for them, and you don’t get to blame them for it.
      Moreover, I don’t know much about meat packing plants, but I know enough about grocery stores, and clerks there have brief, contactless interactions with adults. If you don’t understand how it’s different from a subject teacher, who has to see 40 kids for an hour, 6 hours a day, in a small, sometimes poorly ventilated room and have long conversations with them, then perhaps you should consider this a little longer before forming an opinion.

    • superbass says:

      I don’t disagree with you. I think schools are not ready to open personally, but where I am, grammar school teachers get amazing health benefits, around 80k a year, tenure, and summers off, and then get teachers’ discounts everywhere they go, and then consistently bitch that they’re not paid enough, when they all got paid their full salaries during the pandemic for working two to three hours a day over Zoom, while laughing at parents who had to essentially home school their children while working from home or pulling their hair out about unemployment. I would agree that teachers are admirable but many in the US are privileged white folk, let’s not forget it. It can be both.

      • L says:

        You know teachers also have families to take care of, while teaching via zoom for 2-3 hours as you said. While also making sure my kids also kept up with their assignments, etc.
        Also, some are single parents , like myself. And news flash where I’m from (Texas) I make no where near 80k a year. Plus I pay for my own supplies. My God people in other professions can make 80k + salaries and no one bitches, but if a teacher does it’s a problem? (Most teacher don’t make 80k btw) Why because we get summers off? Get discounts? And what about it?

      • TeamAwesome says:

        When I get my “summer off” it is because I’m unemployed with no summer contract. If I get paid during that time, it is because I file paperwork to have my 9 month salary split 12 ways. And pandemic distance learning sure AF wasn’t just 2-3 hours of Zoom and the rest of the time a paid vacation. In person learning didn’t bippity boppity boo itself into online forms.

      • El says:

        wow, you really don’t understand teaching if you think teachers worked 2-3 hours a day over Zoom. And it’s downright insulting and verifiably untrue to claim that teachers “bitch” and “laugh at parents”.

      • Tate says:

        @TeamAwesome Thank you. I am in education and I think most of us would have preferred to be safely teaching in the classroom instead of distance learning the last several months of this school year. Anyone who thinks it was 2-3 hours of zoom a day has absolutely no idea what they are talking about

      • Tasha says:

        You are right but 2-3 hours a day it was NOT. I am in New York, a nice part, public school, and my high school-er had 20 min zoom calls twice a week for CORE subjects (i.e., math, english, social studies and science). What about the rest of the week? For my middle school-er it was about the same, and elementary school-er 3 times a week 1/2 hour zoom calls. That is appalling. My two eldest were already submitting most of their work via laptop before the pandemic so it was not a hard transition. But you know what was hard? Being “taught” live for a measly 40 minutes per week for each core subject for my 14 year old. That is a disgrace no matter how you slice it. I didn’t expect much for my elementary school aged child (5 grade) but I did expect a hell of a lot more for my 9th and 7th grade children. That is why parents are angry. I don’t care if they remote teach fully come September. But then teach, as if it were a school day…not this pathetic nonsense we got over the last 4 months.

      • H says:

        Amazing health benefits? Yeah, no. When I taught, I used my VA health insurance because the school’s was so bad. Also, in FL teacher’s salaries are one of the LOWEST in the nation. Mid $40′s (prior to recent raise, it was mid $30′s). Nowhere near this mythical $80,000. Also some teachers unions are useless and if you strike, you get fired and lose your teaching certification. But keep piling it on teachers and how easy we have it.

      • Tasha says:

        Oh and I have a full time job as well, with 3 children. I was expected to draft legal documents, get on conference calls, negotiate with crazy tenants and their attorneys, all while trying to sit with my 5th grader and teach her lessons that should have been taught online while on those 1/2 hr zoom calls that were primarily used to play bingo, and other such nonsense. So I get that teachers have to do their jobs while helping their children with their homework. I was expected to do my job and help my child – just like every teacher. I spent many nights working past 9-10 pm to make up the time I missed while schooling my youngest. My gripe is obviously not with the teachers but with the school system that allowed this to go on during the pandemic. I am lucky though – at least I had the luxury of working from home. I know plenty of parents where both the mother and father are front line workers with multiple children at home. I guess not so lucky for them, huh?

      • Rose says:

        You’re full of it. Please let me know where you live because I make nowhere near 80k (less than half that, actually) and I have a masters degree.

        I’m a speech pathologist in the schools, and I can tell you that I was Zooming 10-12 hours a day doing teletherapy 1:1 and holding meetings. Working from home is so much harder than doing it from school as normal, and my kids had to basically fend for themselves and be parked in front of a TV from March-May because I was so busy taking care of other people’s children I couldn’t even take care of MY OWN! No babysitter, no nanny, not even grandparents could come over. They didn’t get to accomplish much on their distance learning.

        I’m high risk. My HR/director have given me NO guidance and I’m expected to use a face shield so kids can see my lips move—even though they are not nearly as effective as an N95. I’m not going to catch this virus so your child can watch my mouth moving.

      • Howdy says:

        The state where teachers make $80-$100k with a great retirement and benefits is New Jersey. The teachers there are not representative of the entire nation. Most teachers make a lot less, especially when the cost of living is factored into the equation and you compare teachers salaries, which involve a bachelor’s or master’s degree with a year long professional certification, to other professions with degree and professional certification requirements.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      The grocery store workers were given the same support that teachers are asking for. I remember many people rallying to voice how important grocery workers and delivery people are to the economy and supporting safer conditions for them. There were adds on television paying tribute to those workers and to create awareness about the conditions under which people were working. In my area that awareness led to cash registers being framed off, ordinary people dropping off PPE they made to workers during the times when those items couldn’t be found and being generally aware of the necessity of those positions and the need to be thankful to people who work at those jobs. Teachers deserve at least the same consideration, which is what they are asking for. I assure you that most teachers across the US do not make that much money, most barely make a living wage. From their small wages they are forced to purchase supplies for their classroom in order to be effective. Like the grocery store workers and various first responders, teachers will likely return to work in their numbers and take the risk, the least we can do is hear them and support their concerns, they are valid.

    • Caty Page says:

      @aang, I’m assuming you organized a protest on behalf on grocery workers in your community? If so, I’m very happy for you and impressed that you’re putting your money where your mouth is!
      … but I’ll also note that having the time and energy to organize a protest reeks of privilege.

      If you didn’t take the time to do that, you’re a hypocrite.

    • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

      I’d sure like to know where an elementary school teacher makes $80-100K/yr with all that. In L.A., I was at the *top* of the pay scale, and my take home, with only ONE deduction (me, no kids) was under $50K. We do NOT get Soc. Sec. in CA. We do keep our health care because we paid into it all of our years teaching. And what “time off” are you talking about? Summers? During the 8 wks “off” we have to take in-services, classes, and do all the curriculum prep work for the next year. And yes…maybe be able to spend a day or two with family and friends. My bad.

      • Nic919 says:

        In Ontario teachers will get to $100k with benefits, with their top end salary around $83k. Principals and vice principals make more and end up on the sunshine list.

        That doesn’t mean teachers anywhere should be exposed to unsafe working conditions and the Ontario education minister hasn’t been clear on what they will be doing in September. But teachers do have more protections than grocery store workers, who aren’t unionized, are unlikely to have any extra health coverage or any for sick days and no pension plan or LTD.

        This virus is affecting the social classes differently and in Ontario teachers are solidly in the middle to upper middle class range.

        The US obviously underpays all its teachers and with various states being utterly idiotic about using masks or other preventative methods, it will be a disaster.

    • Jerusha says:

      Could you detail what exactly you have done for clerks, meat packers and grocery workers? Not much, I bet.
      And you must reside in a very wealthy, tony area. I retired five years ago after 40 years as a public school teacher. I had a master’s degree the whole time and at the end of forty years I was making approximately $53,000. And, btw, I worked for free every summer. I made a fifty mile roundtrip every day to keep the library open for any student or parent or teacher who needed to use it. Such condescension in your post.

    • Jensies says:

      My mom taught for 43 years At a public elementary and made maybe half that when she was forced to retire because of budget. So $80-100k is not at all normal for most teachers in the US. Try $30k. With masters degrees. And sure the healthcare and vacation are good…if you can even take vacation, most teachers retire with hundreds if days that they didn’t take and don’t get paid out for all that. I also grew up watching my mom teach from 8-3:30, deal with parents and kids after school, not leaving until after 6 most days. Then come home and grace until 8 or 9. No one is saying grocery clerks and other essential workers don’t matter, or matter less. That’s a false equivalence. We are saying that teachers matter and are undervalued and being put in danger with 30 lil germ bags running around a tiny classroom for 7 hrs.

      • Jerusha says:

        I retired with almost 300 days of sick leave. I converted 189 of them into a retirement year and donated the rest to education workers who needed extra days because of catastrophic illnesses.

      • Jensies says:

        @Jerusha thank you for your work as a teacher. And that’s so awesome that you could donate that. Not all districts are that organized or progressive unfortunately.

      • Ann says:

        I’m a lawyer who represent school districts in a mid western state. The salary range you are giving is patently false. Teachers make significantly more than 30,000 and have very lucrative benefits. This is for a nine month contract. I am not saying that they are overpaid, but it is just not true to say teachers make 30K a year in any state. Teachers are solidly in the middle of the pay school and in addition have very strong unions. Again, it’s fine but we need to be honest about compensation. I find it fascinating that teachers feel more at risk than health care workers many of whom have taken pay cuts during the pandemic. Teachers are not looking good in this. Do they have valid concerns. Yes. Are districts working hard to address them. Yes. But stop with the poor teacher routine. They are powerful, well represented professionals.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      Sometimes it’s more convenient to blame individuals than the actual systems & organisations at fault.
      The USA has a minimum wage below the poverty line so clerks could earn enough to survive if minimum wage was increased. Tertiary education & healthcare are privatised so both are way too expensive for the average person to access. Trump & the Republican Party failed to offer a sensible stimulus package to help people survive until it’s safe to reopen public spaces. All of that is beyond a teachers control to fix.
      It’s every workers right to strike and protest for a safe working environment. Teachers standing up for themselves doesn’t invalidate the struggle of other workers like clerks. If anything a successful strike empowers other workers to fight for better working conditions. Unionism (while imperfect) is built on a history of solidarity & collective power.
      If you’re that concerned about clerks either tip them or see if there’s a union they can join and tell them about it.
      I work at a union and I’m very passionate about workers rights. Thanks for reading my defence of the right to strike.🧐

    • KL says:

      1. Where do you live? I am seriously interested in moving there.

      2. How could you have missed the massive protests across the states over the last few years — the walkouts, the news reports, the editorials — about how badly many states treat their teachers in terms of salary and support? The 2018 West Virginia strike? The 2019 Virginia walkout? Arizona? Oklahoma? Where have you BEEN?

      Talk about massive privilege.

      • H says:

        @aang said “uni,” so my guess: UK, Canada or Australia. Americans do not call university that.

    • Khl says:

      Aang, I hear you. I’m in Chicago and according to the Chicago Teachers’ Union documents, teacher salary here starts at $63,000 and goes up to $121,000. The pension is very generous as well. Of course we need to protect the health of our teachers, as we do every member of our communities. But lots of people do have to go to work, people who are paid only a fraction of that. I love my kids’ teachers and I value their expertise – I can’t do it! But it is totally unrealistic to suggest that society will not suffer greatly if everyone is to school remotely. Those kids who are behind already or have special needs will suffer the most. And talk about privilege – I cannot believe the number of people suggesting to just hire a nanny or pay a tutor! Yes, my doctor friend can do that because she has money and has to go to work, but so many people cannot.

      • Chelle says:

        Re: the salary you cite, is that cold hard cash or total compensation? How does that compare to other public employees, if you will, who have been furloughed?

    • Vonnegut3 says:

      First of all, teachers don’t get three months of paid vacation. Money is withheld from each pay period in order to compensate during the summer months. That means each paycheck is significantly less than what we should net. Secondly, teachers work and/or go to school while off the clock. They are lesson planning, attending professional development, working a second job, obtaining master’s degrees, etc. Teachers also work well beyond their work day and weekends throughout the school year. The demands of differentiation, data collection, behavior support plans, and so much more require 10-12 hour days plus weekends to catch up. There is never time to mentally recover from the emotional trauma that is experienced, or the physical demands of never getting to leave your job at work. We aren’t simply teaching students to read, write, and do math. We are nurses, guidance counselors, mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists, mediators, mind readers, etc. None of which we are to do. So this privileged narrative that some are trying to preach, please stop. Until you have been bit, spit on, punched, kicked, had furniture thrown at you, been called every name in the book, and other things that I can’t even begin to explain in this comment section because it is so explicit by elementary-aged students, don’t breathe privilege in my direction.

      I see some pretty inflated salaries being thrown around on this site. Every school district is different (plus cost of living plays a role), but many teachers have to get second jobs to supplement income. Don’t tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about or quote some website with salaries. I’m a teacher, my mother is a retired teacher, both of my sisters are teachers, and I have many friends that are teachers. You aren’t going to win that argument with me.

      Not all school districts and/or states have the same quality unions. Our benefits continue to decrease every year, and we have to fight to keep our teacher retirement (which we have no choice but to pay into-we don’t pay into social security) every year. There is no guarantee my retirement will be there once I have the ability to do so. Our retirement is the reserve for our state’s budget shortfalls.

  5. Becks1 says:

    It’s such a mess. I just cant imagine how schools are going to reopen safely – and the answer is that they wont be able to do that. imagine schools closing down regularly because of an outbreak, imagine the extended bus schedules (our bus would have to start picking kids up an hour earlier than normal and run the route several times in order to get kids to school), imagine the sheer extra work on teachers (I have a friend who teaches in a Catholic school and she has been told she has to accompany every child to the bathroom individually and turn the faucet on for them, etc.) I think schools would be better served to focus on distance learning for the first semester and then we’ll see what comes after.

    My county has not announced what they are doing yet and I’m getting anxious about it. I’m in a fairly red county and there is a push for a hybrid system, but all the other counties around us are starting the year fully virtual, and I really hope we follow suit.

    • Darla says:

      What happens to all the working moms then though? This is such a mess. My real worry is for the children from less than stable homes, whether suffering hunger or abuse or both. If we only had a real President it wouldn’t have come to this.

      • E says:

        @Daria why just working moms? Oh, right, sexism.

      • Becks1 says:

        Well, working parents, not just working moms. and trust me, I get it. I have two kids and I work full time. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to work from home full time during this pandemic, but i’m worried my office is going to call me back (as many offices here are doing) and I don’t know how that will work if the kids are full time distance learning. I have one friend who is moving in with her retired mom so her mom can do the distance learning, but that seems extreme to me and not everyone has that option.

        There’s just really no good answer here, we missed the chance to get this “right” due to lack of federal leadership, so now I just think the school systems need to make the safest choice.

      • Darla says:

        Nah, it’s working moms. this will set women back decades. We can pretend it will be men too, but the vast majority will be women.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think this will disproportionally affect working moms, but it is not ONLY working moms. But in general, that’s indicative of other systemic failures in our country. It doesn’t mean we should open schools because our whole working system is a mess.

      • Becks1 says:

        I will add, @Darla, that I do completely agree with you that if we had a real president, we wouldn’t be in this same position. I was reading an Atlantic article recently and one of its points was that we had a deal – we closed the schools in the spring, we went into shutdown, and the powers that be would figure out a way to open schools safely in the fall, even if it was a hybrid system. Well here we are and we failed. We opened bars and indoor dining and indoor play areas and bowling alleys and we aren’t going to be able to open schools.

        I really feel like this pandemic has just highlighted all the flaws in the US system.

      • Darla says:

        Yes, that was the deal and it’s a disastrous outcome. And Trumpsters will whine and complain the loudest no matter what we do with the schools. that’s what they do. They commit harm with every action they take, they then blame liberals for it, and whine and complain.

      • Also Ali says:

        School closures disproportionately affects the parent who currently juggles primary care for the kids (feeding, transportation, mental energy) and a career. I personally don’t know of any two parent families where there isn’t a lopsided division of labor when it comes to childcare in the home.

        The number of men this applies to is small. Not non-existent but small. This is all parents matter’ing to not want to address how this pandemic is specifically affecting working mothers who already face workplace hurdles by virtue of being a woman.

        Teachers are not store clerks. Their interactions with students are not brief and able to be socially distanced. Walmart, Home Depot and your local public schools are not in the same categories.

      • El says:

        @Becks1 exactly, I’ve been feeling the same thing. Everything we failed to learn from other countries, everything we ignored and refused to do (nationalized healthcare, better sick leave, better pay so that one parent CAN stay home if need be, smaller class sizes, etc.) is coming back for us with a vengeance.

      • Desdemona says:

        Where I live during lock down, with kids under twelve, one of the parents could stay at home and the state paid a third of the salary and the boss another third. Laws were passed to forbid firing employees and to make lay-off easier so that people could go back to their jobs. Still some people lost their jobs and the economical crisis is here to stay. Time will tell, but it will be complicated. But I guess if these measures hadn’t existed it would be worse.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Our government should address the need for child care!

        Forcing schools to reopen when it is not safe makes more problems than it resolves. Communities coming together to create small pod-like child care centers should be funded by government assistance.

        The problem with schools is the number of people that it involves. There’s just no getting around that, so the root problem needs to be addressed, which is child care.

      • goofpuff says:

        I can tell you what working moms I know are doing. They hire nannies/tutors. Better one person than 800 kids.

  6. Darla says:

    It’s a real class divide here. These same people have likely been in grocery stores every week. And who among us have given much thought to those workers? Such a class divide in this country. I don’t know what to think and I don’t know what the answer is. Also, I’m from LI and here teachers make 6 figures, often marry each other so their household income is crazy, and really do have summers off. I do know that most teachers are not so lucky, but my views are skewed because of where and how I grew up.

    • Indywom says:

      You need six figures to live in LI. Why should college educated teachers make less than other college educated people? It does not matter how much you are paid if you have to put your life on the line. People should have been listening to the science since they shut down schools in March. You don’t wait until late July to start planning the next school year. You begin that in March. And those teachers also have their own kids too. So not only do they have to create lessons, they will also have to work with their own kids.

      • El says:

        right? No one thinks that IT workers or engineers making 6 figures is outrageous, but for teachers, it is? Because engineering is hard, but teaching is easy or what?
        Where is this idea come from that teachers must be poor, and if they arne’t, it’s undeserved and scandalous? Especially if they also marry each other! Funny how we never see anyone compare their evenings and week-ends to teachers’, just summers.

      • Darla says:

        A lot of Long Islanders who don’t make six figures live, so that’s just not true. There’s certain aspirational lifestyle you need that for, but to “live”? Nah. Anyway that’s not my point. My point is that because I grew up where teachers are so well paid, that I had to sit myself down and think about my own preconceived notions, because LI does not apply to most teachers. So my views that I have of teachers, especially growing up in a very nice neighborhood where several households were headed by TWO teachers, were not really fair. Most posts and articles about teachers begin by stating they are severely underpaid. When someone posts that’s not the case where they live, well that’s not wanted information. I can’t control how others deal with conflicting information, only how I do. As you can maybe tell, I took that conflicting information, accepted it, sat with it, and changed my long held views about teachers. But I won’t lie about what the teachers I grew up with make. And they ain’t taking no vows of poverty, period. Nor did I ever say that any of them should.

        NOPE, never said it was outrageous. Simply pointed out that as almost all stories about teachers begin with the premise that they are severely underpaid, that really threw me for a loop for along time, because where I am , nothing can be further from the truth.

        Why is pointing out that this doesn’t hold true everywhere, such a problem? Are we addicted to the idea that teachers live in poverty? Why are people so upset to hear about teachers who are very well paid? I don’t know. Shrug.

      • L says:

        @indymom: yes, thank you! I’m a teacher and single mom.

      • El says:

        teachers underpaid is not an “idea”, is the reality and the truth for many teachers. I guess LI teachers aren’t as vocal because THEY ARE paid well, and they realize it. But when a teacher from TX complains about his or her pay and you chime in with “but where I’m from, they are paid handsomely”, it’s upsetting because it’s not acknowledging or recognizing a real issue, and using bits of outlying data to minimize and wave it away. That’s what upsets people, not the fact that some teaches are well-compensated.

      • Vonnegut3 says:

        @Indywom @El Yes! Agree!!!!

    • Howdy says:

      I’ve been teaching in California with a Master’s degree and teacher’s certification for fifteen years. I have a Master’s degree and a teaching credential, which was an extra year of college for the preliminary credential and then, two years of weekly meetings/observations/activities/etc. for which I wasn’t compensated for the clear credential. Then, I get to pay ver $100 every couple of years to renew my clear credential. Why? I don’t know. The state of California wants my money?

      This year I finally hit the $90k mark in gross pay. My salary rises very slowly for the last fifteen years of my career. My annual salary will increase about $2k when I reach the 18 year mark, another $2k a year at the 21 year mark, another $2k a year the 24 year mark, etc. I will not receive a salary increase between those benchmarks unless the union negotiates a salary increase for everyone in the district.

      My take home pay is around $50k with taxes, union dues, state pension contributions, health insurance premiums, temporary income/disability insurance because we cannot access the state’s system, Medicare taxes, etc.

      We don’t receive social security and my pension is not free. I contribute to it and to a 401k for teachers called a 403b because my pension doesn’t replace 100% of my salary when I retire. I have to save extra money independently.

      In comparison, my little brother with a four year degree for graphic design blew past me to hit the gross six figure salary range after three years of working. He has gone up, up ever since working for a startup. Plus, he received stock, which he didn’t have to buy, which made him a nice chunk of change when the company went public. Also, his company does the free food everyday thing and my brother doesn’t have to buy work supplies like I do. My brother also has good health care and a 401k, which his employer matches.

      My brother has at least three years less formal college education than I and he didn’t have to spend two years working his way through a state run credential clearing program. Is anyone shaking their finger saying graphic designers are overcompensated? No.

      So please spare me the teachers are overcompensated and need to take a pay and benefit cut. Those Republican talking points have a basis in general Republican hatred of unions and love for privatizing what the government does and in big Republican donors who are anti-public education because they have invested in charter schools. It is totally political.

  7. wildwaffles says:

    In my state (TX) athletics have been up and running for 5 weeks. What I am hearing is that parents are refusing to get their kids tested who are showing light symptoms because they would have to stop playing. The kids don’t usually have fevers so they are not being caught in any prescreening. These parents aren’t telling anyone their kid has symptoms, aren’t testing them and are exposing other players and coaches. Also, they are not disclosing potential exposure for kids, either. If a parent or sibling is sick, they keep that secret and still send the exposed kid to play. If people think this is not going to happen with regular school they are kidding themselves. The disease will spread like crazy among the kids and it won’t be until a teacher or other adult gets sick that it will come to light.

    • Darla says:

      Jesus. What is wrong with people? The result of this behavior will be outbreaks and forced school shutdowns. You can’t win by doing this, they think they are outsmarting the system, they aren’t outsmarting anything or anyone. All they are doing is making everything worse for us all.

      • wildwaffles says:

        What happened was initially people were reporting and testing and they had to shut down the athletic programs for extended periods of time. People didn’t like that (their super talented, pro-athlete bound child deserves to play!) so then they stopped reporting. That is what will happen with school, I bet. There will be initial shut downs and all the chaos that will go with that. Then, parents will decide that’s a problem and they will get the bright idea not to test or report in order to stop the shut downs. There are a lot of selfish, entitled people in this world and it will only take one or two of them in a school setting to create danger for all.

      • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

        I had a few parents send kids to school with CHICKEN POX! One told me the kid just had acne (at 7!!). We are just glorified daycare to most parents, sadly. Anything kids learn with us is a bonus. And PLEASE do not come at me with “What are working parents supposed to do???”. How about coming up with a plan to care for the kid YOU CHOSE TO HAVE in case they get sick? Ugh… I got SO SICK of those kinds of parents!

        Those TX parents? JFC. Gotta keep those kids playing sports. After all, those kids are ALL going to be professional ballers and the parents ride the glory train. (And again, I *know* some kids do it for the scholarships to be able to *go* to college, but C’mon…most think they’re going to make the big time). Only now… they are potential illness/death teams.

    • Vonnegut3 says:

      @TheOG Yes!! I said something similar in a reply earlier. Parents send kids via the bus to school vomiting and with a high fever. When we try to reach them by phone (if it hasn’t been disconnected), they don’t answer. We are a daycare/babysitting service to many. I’m all about the freedom to have kids. Go for it. But the burden to provide a place for them be supervised so that parents can make a living is not on the school. It really is that simple.

  8. greenmonster says:

    Schools need to open somehow. Many parents can not work from home, so they depend on the structures our society has built. Many children need school to get out of abusive homes at least for a few hours. There are solutions (splitting classes in half, debatting with parents who really needs school/support etc.), keeping schools closed isn’t one of them. No-one asked medical staff, clerks at supermarkets and so on if they wanted to stay home.

    • Darla says:

      This is what I tend to feel, but I am open to other arguments and points.

    • Skyblue says:

      Seems to be a lot of vitriol aimed at teachers. I’m a nurse and you’re right, no one asked me if I wanted to stay home but I’ll tell you one thing, I have the ability to control my exposure to a large degree. I cannot imagine wrangling children while trying to keep them safe. Classrooms, cafeteria, bathrooms, hallways and the playground? My sister is the superintendent of a small elementary school and she is sick to her stomach trying to work out the logistics with the assistance of the school board. Bottom line is she’s damned no matter what happens. (As for the amazing wages teachers make…growing up my parents both taught and guess what? We qualified for free and reduced hot lunch and my dad worked every summer to make ends meet)

    • Becks1 says:

      If you split classes in half, are you going to hire more teachers? Many districts don’t have the budget for that. And I have friends who teach classes of 40 students, so even splitting in half still gives you 20 students per class. Our district’s bus routes would take an hour to get everyone to school, since they would take so many fewer students. So where do those kids wait when they get to school (classroom? cafeteria?) and who is compensating the teacher or workers for that extra time of watching kids?

      Part of the issue isn’t that there is “no way” to open schools – its that its too expensive and logistically complicated. The county south of mine is one of the wealthier counties in the country and they are doing full time virtual because they do not have the budget to comply with the guidelines.

      • greenmonster says:

        In Germany we split classes – half was at home, the other half in school. Cafeteria was closed. It is far from perfect, but it was a start.
        Also teachers over the age of 60 or high risk groups could work from home (online classes etc.).

        I work within the school system and know great teachers who worked a lot during the time schools were closed. A lot of them were glad as well when schools re-opened and they actually enjoyed teaching the smaller classes, because they had time for each kid. Even the kids liked it – more attention, they could concentrate better. The younger ones also often understood social distance rules much better than older ones.

      • Becks1 says:

        oh well LOL in Germany you all do a lot of things better than us.

      • greenmonster says:

        @Becks1 LOL… it depends on who you ask ;) We had a lot of arguments here as well. Some parents were angry schools opened and did not send their kids to school and I totally understand. Others were angry that schools were closed to begin with and I understand this as well. As I said a lot of teachers worked their behinds of and I did not envy them during that time, but that still got dragged by parents. This is a no win situation.

        Summer break ends in two weeks and schools will fully open then – we will see how this works out.

      • Lua says:

        Green monster that’s what they’re doing at our public schools on the burbs outside Houston. Split classes. No cafeteria. Masks are dress code from ages 10 and up, violate and you’re out, and half kids come to school and the half that want home school are taught by the immunocompromised teachers, elderly, etc online. I used to teach out there. I left after 6 years making 50k and with my TRS which I carried over to my hospital. I think we’re taken pretty well care of here compared to some places

      • Vonnegut3 says:

        Because class sizes are so big, it isn’t possible to split the classes (half home/half at school) and have enough personnel in the building to supervise the students. You would still have to keep the half at school split into different rooms (our rooms are small) to meet the distancing guidelines. Then how do you decide who stays home in a school with 90% or higher free and reduced lunch? What is the majority of your population comes from abusive homes and/or traumatic home situations? How are you going to take kids to the restroom and ensure distancing, washing hands, sanitizing after each person uses and or touches the doors/handles, etc? What happens when a kid comes in with symptoms and the parent refuses to answer the phone and now the building has been exposed?

    • Indywom says:

      Not one person has addressed the cost of PPE for teachers and students. The cost of sanitizing bathrooms and buses. And no one has said anything about what would happen if one kid contracts the disease and what it will mean for every kid they came into contact with And their families. Would the other kids and their families have to quarantine for 14 days? Would the school have to shut down? Then you are right back in the same place. I live in a place where flu outbreaks have been so bad, they closed schools. So again, people need to go back to work, but no one can tell you how to keep kids and teachers safe.

      • TeamAwesome says:

        My sister’s elementary school is about to have a diy clorox wipes making “party” in preparation for school starting back. That’s education in America in a nutshell. Do you think the school schoolboard even bought the supplies? No way. Never mind that our society is so broken that getting kids in school so they get fed and not beaten to death at home is as much a concern as kids actually learning.

    • salmonpuff says:

      Aside from all the other issues mentioned, there are also not enough substitutes to cover classes when teachers inevitably get sick. What do we do then?

      And the trauma for kids when a teacher is seriously ill or passes away is devastating. A teacher at my husband’s school passed away from cancer this year, and the kids were flattened.

      This situation is not the fault of teachers, administrators or school districts. We could more safely open schools if and only if our federal government had done what it was supposed to do. Debates about teacher pay, the plight of grocery workers, the responsibility of schools to open for the kids/parents who desperately need them, etc. are distractions from the abject failure of our elected officials to both manage this crisis and to address issues surrounding education, poverty and healthcare for decades.

    • KL says:

      “No-one asked medical staff, clerks at supermarkets and so on if they wanted to stay home.”

      Man, people really hate teachers, I guess.

      Many accommodations were made in order to make hospitals and customer service jobs safer. Speaking as someone who has one of the latter: our services were greatly reduced, hours changed, plastic shields erected between us and customers, etc and so on. One store I know changed their regular checkout aisle to self-checkout. The number of people inside stores is often limited, signs are placed to control inside traffic and uphold social distancing. And hey, lots of people still quit! Teachers are allowed to quit too, you know, the issue at hand is how many more people are being put at risk, and in such higher degrees. Including children.

      Because teachers cannot teach behind a screen. School hours are not being shortened from what I’ve heard. The services offered are exactly the same. There’s no cap on students. Also! I can refuse service to anyone who doesn’t wear a mask! Not everyone in a service job can, but those who buck the trend are often shamed on social media. From what I’ve heard, no such policy is being implemented in schools. Those other measures you proposed? Other commenters are right: they require time, money, and organization, from an institution notoriously short on all three. Hell, a lot of service businesses got loans to, among other things, offset the costs of all those preventative measures. Schools often struggle to provide BOOKS for all their students. Where are they going to get they money for the absolute basics of enough gloves, sanitizer, and temperature guns?

      Also: MILLIONS of people decided to switch to online shopping and delivery in the wake of the pandemic. That meant lessened crowds in stores still open. It was an essential service, so it was still provided, but millions of customers changed their shopping habits.

      TEACHERS CAN PROVIDE THEIR SERVICES ENTIRELY ONLINE. Is it optimal? No. But you’re weighing a temporary, less-than-perfect solution against people’s lives, and deciding the latter is worth less. Because, idk, teachers are seen as servants of the state. And schools are not a solution to abusive households, or babysitting needs. You can’t actually pretend you have kids’ interests in mind when you are literally sending them into under-regulated mass gatherings of untested bodies. No one’s 9-5 woes are going to be made easier with a sick kid or hospital bills.

      Speaking as someone who worked those essential services that remained open during lockdown: I wish people would stop using us as a way to score points against teachers.

      • goofpuff says:

        yes this. They really don’t respect teachers at all. Which is why schools get defunded all the time. But hey, defund the police and people freak the hell out.

      • Vonnegut3 says:

        Thank you, @ KL!

  9. Lucy says:

    For those of y’all talking about six figure teachers, I’ll give a different perspective. I’m in Texas, we have a lot of teachers, and they top out at 50-60k at the super high end. Unless you count football coaches, they can bring in six figure pay 🙄.
    When I was in eighth grade, a teacher with 20 years experience showed us the pay schedules of a teacher and garbage men. Garbage men’s compensation continued to go up over time, teacher’s stopped after I think 10 years. Garbage men made significantly more after I think 7 years.
    This isn’t a knock on garbage men, we need those guys too and everyone deserves a fair wage, but really. This was 25 plus years ago, I think budget cuts have only hit harder since then.
    So like everyone talking about six figure teachers, I’ll just say, must be nice to live somewhere education is valued. Quit insinuating that makes it ok for them to risk their lives because the government doesn’t want to do it’s job and lead with solutions.

    • El says:

      I second this. There are FAR more districts that pay teachers abysmally than ones that pay 6 figures. If you happen to fall in the latter category, please, do not think that you have an outlook that applies to the entire nation. You’re likely in a tiny minority.

  10. Liz version 700 says:

    People with various views on this are all correct. The problem is that exposing kids to school in other countries has led to surges in cases. But parents do need schools and kids need to be there. However, the flaw here was not containing the virus early and not getting the schools ready in March when they were closed. Our government (Trump) failed us in every way possible and now people are supposed to risk their kids.

    • Darla says:

      Yep. It’s so true, everyone is correct. I totally see everyone’s viewpoints. There’s good points to be made all around. There’s no real answer! Some claim theirs is the real answer, they are the ones who are wrong. There is no answer. We are so screwed no matter what we do. And our kids? Oh lord. god help them please. Especially those in abusive homes.

      • superashes says:

        For now sure, a variety of views are valid, but then when someone’s child dies, I’m sure everyone is going to be singing a different tune.

      • Darla says:

        And if a child is beaten to death because as has been reported by WAPO “incidents of SEVERE child abuse have risen during school shutdown”, what then?

        You’re wrong, because you so firmly believe you’re right.

      • superashes says:

        I don’t firmly believe I’m right. Not sure where you are getting that. Frankly, I don’t think there is a right answer to this at all. There is no decision that can be made here that doesn’t cause harm. Reopen schools, invariably some teachers and some students will get sick and some will die, and some students will bring the virus home to family members, some of whom will get sick and die. Don’t reopen schools, and parents who can’t work from home will have to sacrifice their livelihoods to teach their children, kids that rely on school lunch will go hungry, and yes, one reporting tool to try to intervene in child abuse will disappear.

        There are a variety of views, and they all have valid points. But, the bottom line is, once parents and children start dying from the virus, that is going to change the entire game on these discussions because, while not every parent abuses their kids, every parent and every kid is susceptible to the virus.

      • Vonnegut3 says:

        @Darla Don’t you think that is a major societal problem that needs to be fixed? You can’t blame teachers/schools for the failures of society. School wasn’t put in place to prevent abuse. Is child abuse awful? Of course! But this is one of many reasons why our education system is in need of a major gutting. But so does society’s idea of education, and its purpose. We don’t exist to fulfill parent’s needs (babysitting, keep them from abusing their child for seven plus hours, two free meals, clothe them, take care of them when they are sick, toilet train them, deal with their explosive /violent behavior episodes, provide mental health services, the list could go on for days), Those are the parent’s responsibilities. But schools have become the parent to many of students, and it is becoming more out of control every year.

  11. PPP says:

    Teachers are honestly this societies’ priests or something. We’re expected to take a vow of poverty, throw our freaking bodies in the path of bullets, caretake, keep our eye out for abuse but also accept abuse from our students and their parents, and oh yeah, educate.

    • Darla says:

      Where I”m from there are no vows of poverty that’s for sure, but the rest, yeah. Especially the bullets, I think most people do expect teachers to throw themselves in front of their students when a shooting occurs. I used to think things like that were incumbent upon us as adults, but I want to live too, so now I say sht on that, maybe you should stop voting for NRA hoes. If you want your kids to live, try that. I have a 6 yo nephew and a 4 yo old niece I would stand in front of bullets for, and that’s it. Anyone else, I’m running my ass and hiding. Vote better.

      • PPP says:

        To be honest, I don’t know why so many commenters are on here stressing that teachers are paid well where they are, or that we are somehow upper class, or that caring about teachers is somehow disrespecting essential workers. I’m paid about the same as a grocery store worker and most teachers in the country are, so the salaries where you live are irrelevant to my point. Frankly it reads as a refusal to acknowledge my and others lived experience.

      • Darla says:

        Well, that’s emotionalism because you want to be lauded as a hero, but I don’t consider teachers heroes and sorry we don’t jail people for that here. I respect them fine, but I don’t idolize them. And your lived experiences aren’t universal.

      • El says:

        Indeed, I live in a region that is ever so slightly cheaper than NY, and our teachers start at 40K. I think you’d need to be a principal with advanced degrees and 20+ years of experience to reach very low 6 figures, are we really upset about that? It’s a CEO-level responsibility, for low 6 figures, it’s a bargain.

      • El says:

        When did she say that she wanted to be “lauded” as a “hero”? She compared herself to a priest, and priests are rarely “heros”. Talking about emotionalism. I’d argue that her lived experiences are common, and your area is the outlier.

      • PPP says:

        @Darla: Turning people’s lives into fodder for specious argumentation is what privileged people do. It’s the same tactic used by white people who demand that people of color prove racism exists and by men demanding that women prove sexism exists. Your contributions are disappointingly classist, and thinking emotions discredit my point is fallacious and sexist. Emotions aren’t inconsistent with facts. The fact that my life is at risk from both school shooters and now this virus is not incompatible with my fury of those facts. The fact that multiple posters deny the low wage most teachers have by pointing to exceptions is not incompatible with my annoyance.

    • L says:

      @PPP: Yep!

      @EL: also agree, this posters area is the outlier. I’m from Tx.

  12. minny says:

    Former school teacher here. I’ve taught 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. I have served as a school social worker for middle and high school. I’ve taught where teachers make six figures and I’ve taught where teachers have maxed out (25-30 years of service) at 50-60 thousand a year. I have taught in rural and urban centers since 1990. Teachers want to teach. Teachers also know that if schools are opened too quickly and in an unsafe manner, children WILL get sick. Every year like clock work the flu or stomach-bug hits the school and we get a wave of absences that effect everyone not just the students. I know this because as the school social worker I have to reconcile many of these absences. NEWSFLASH- Middle school students (the population I serve) will not adhere to these face mask orders. Write it down. It’s the nature of the beast. You know adolescence- you remember- trying to figure out your own autonomy and agency. An adult says go left but YOU go right. Yes the masks will be novel for what the first day or maybe week. Then what?

    • Darla says:

      Anything above k-6 is particularly worrisome, agreed. They don’t listen and they don’t adjust. I see my younger niece and nephew adjusting better than their parents to masks! My older niece and nephew, 21 and 19, are a nightmare. Total virus deniers. I can’t even have them over because of it and you should see the guilt trips.

      • Vonnegut3 says:

        @Darla you obviously don’t know anything about elementary school. Some have this misconception about younger kids being more responsive or less defiant. I’m sure that is the case in many elementary schools. But there are many exceptions. The stories I could tell would make people cry, scream, blush, get angry, and cry again. I can already name at least 20 students that will defy the rule just to because they want to. Don’t get me started on trying to get a classroom full of 1st and 2nd graders (in our state early childhood and kindergarten don’t have to wear masks) to keep a mask on all day, and social distance.

  13. smee says:


    This is the biggest game of “chicken” we’ve ever seen played. The “Governor” is doing a pantomime for sTump, the Superintendents are going along with – all so sTump can get re-elected. At the last minute they’ll switch to e-learning bc they KNOW what’s going to happen. THREE MONTHS of planning have been wasted while this political posturing has gone on. It’s despicable.

    My husband teaches elementary school in Florida. He’s not entering a school building next week. We’ll blow thru our savings rather than infect ourselves.

    Don’t get mad – but the future of schools and offices is virtual. Google’s 200,000 employees have been told to work from home until July 2021. There needs to be planning for it to function better, but e-learning is the future…..

  14. Lua says:

    I used to teach. I get it. I quit to work in healthcare. We’re on the Frontline right now. They need to figure something out. We have to do our jobs and they need to figure out a way they can do theirs because come September we have a lot of healthcare workers that may have to choose between their job and their families, and you think things are bad now? Wait till it’s also flu season and there is a severe shortage of medical workers because they’re all at home teaching their children. And what about the people working at grocery and retail? We’re all working and being flexible, if you are essential, you need to do the same right now. Come together.

    • Indywom says:

      I will bet you never have to pay for your own equipment. Well teachers have to, all the time. And if one kid in your child’s classroom get COVID 19, won’t you and your child have to quarantine anyway? So who pays for all the PPE, sanitizing when state budgets are in such bad shape. And people should have been planning for the possibility since March. Because as an educator, I can tell you parents send their kids to school sick all the time and they tend to not respond to phones calls about picking up sick children. And if you have a school nurse on campus more than once a week you are lucky. Not to mention how do you spread kids out on a bus? A lot different than working in health care.

    • goofpuff says:

      Except teachers can teach remotely. So its not essential for them to be in-person. So why make them?

    • Vonnegut3 says:

      @Lua Do you have 30-40 kids attached to you all day long? Kids that are not going to realistically keep a mask on, if they even have a mask to put on in the first place, and are constantly touching you and others, sneezing/coughing on you and others, etc? I’m also assuming you have sanitation materials that you don’t pay for out of pocket to clean with after all this has occurred? Do you have to take 30-40 kids to the restroom (honestly have no idea how that is going to happen) and make sure they social distance, wash their hands, don’t touch each, keep masks on when you can’t go in the restroom with them? Don’t even get me started on where I’m going to put my 30-40 kids because they have to be 6 feet apart when my room barely holds them now. I would love for you and @Darla to come help me set up the school building for all transitions, and then spend the day. I will try to keep the furniture from flying in your direction when one of the more spirited ones is having what the news likes to call a ‘tantrum’. I will also block the spit from flying when they pull their mask down and spit on you purposely during said ‘tantrum’ as they yell out some pretty colorful expletives. This is elementary.

  15. Veronica S. says:

    They shouldn’t be opening in hot bed areas, but this is a more complicated issue than it looks on the surface. There is risk to the teachers, yes, but there is also risk to students – and their families, who may also be working and become carriers themselves, not to mention those with immunological conditions that make them prime candidates for infection. There’s also the fact that in many areas, particularly rural or urban poor, there aren’t the resources or even the internet connections available for students to use, so it will impact those who can’t access it and will fall behind on their education. And finally, there is the issue of the effect on parents, many of whom are WFH if they’re middle class or working if they’re lower class. The primary burden will inevitably fall on women (already is), and in a country without affordable child care, it will cause serious economic issues for families dealing with it. This is something Japan encountered when they shut down preemptively, and they also have much better social safety nets than Americans do.

    Ultimately, all of this was avoidable, and people should remember that going into November. Capitalism sees all of us as exploitable, but most especially those in lower income brackets, but this is straight up self-sabotage as a country. Absolute incompetence. And now here we are, 150K dead, and going into flu season with an economic crisis looming if we don’t figure this out. Awesome.

    • Darla says:

      So we’re screwed no matter what at this point. That’s pretty much what I figured. I should have gone to Canada while they were still allowing Americans to cross. I kind of knew i would live to regret that.

      • Anna says:

        @Darla I’ve been thinking the same exact thing. Still holding out hope that there might be somewhere I can still escape to.

  16. Lindy says:

    Let’s not forget for a moment that this impossible situation is where we ended up after an absolutely, criminally shameful federal response to the virus thanks to Cheeto Hitler, plus an equally shameful response from many GOP governors.

    I live in Texas and yesterday evening the state attorney general (Ken Paxton, who’s an indicted felon by the way) announced that local health officials have no right to influence school closures. And furthermore, that schools who choose to do online learning will not receive state or federal funding.

    There is no way to open schools safely. In my county the infection rate in the 10-19 age group is over 10% (well into the danger zone). Paxton has created a situation where the only people sending their kids back to school are those who can’t afford not to, or who can’t work from home. Many parents who can afford it will withdraw their kids from the district if it comes down to an “in person only” mandate when the virus is still out of control.

    This whole situation does several things the GOP and DeVos crowd wants:

    Exacerbates the class divide so that we’re fighting amongst each other.

    Distracts us from applying pressure on the government for its fascist invasion of cities like Portland.

    Strips many school districts of funding (the more kids withdraw, the less money).

    Shifts the demographic of many large public school districts to be more heavily minority (and so now we have increased inequity–poorly funded public schools for those kids, and private school or home schooling for kids whose parents can afford it).

    Forces many parents in 2-working-parent households to decide which parent will have to quit their job to manage the back and forth between open and shut schools. Research shows this will be the mom the vast majority of the time.

    Don’t lose sight of who to blame. It’s not the teachers or the teachers’ unions, or the school districts.

    • Darla says:

      What’s your feel there? Any chance Texas will go blue over this? Will you ever get a Dem governor? Do you think BEto will run for Governor? Do you mind my asking?

      • Nicole says:

        That’s a great question, Darla. I’ve been pondering it myself. Typically a conservative, I find myself leaning more blue and I can’t be the only one. Our leaders have failed us in this state. I don’t know….

      • Lindy says:

        Darla, I honestly don’t know. I pay pretty close attention to the polls but I think it’s still going to be a stretch for Texas to go blue. The big cities are increasingly purple trending blue, but Texas is so huge and the areas outside the cities are still blood red.

        I think if we have a free and fair election, with polling stations available, and if we didn’t have such bad gerrymandering, and if the state GOP hadn’t spent the last 40 years on massive disenfranchisement efforts, then Texas would definitely go blue in 2020.

        But the pandemic makes it much more complicated. I early voted this month, but I’m a white suburban mom with a polling location in walking distance and a white collar job that makes it easy for me to take 2 hours out of my workday to stand in a long line with a mask on in the Texas heat to go vote. And I have a husband who can stay home with the kids while I do that (and I can do the same for him the next day).

        That’s not realistic for many, many Dem voters. I badly want to think Texas has a shot at going blue, and the Dem voter turnout for this recent primary election was the highest ever for a Dem primary, so…

        I do think we have a shot at making inroads at the state and local levels. But my district (my rep is Michael McCaul, Google him, he’s basically Satan) is one of the two most gerrymandered districts in the entire country. They drew the boundaries so they could neutralize progressive Austin voters. Even with the highest possible turnout we probably can’t unseat him. Which makes democracy pretty much a nice little fairy tale. It’s distressing.

        I’m prepping paperwork to withdraw my oldest from the district in case we have to go that route. And don’t get me wrong. With two kids (11 and 2) and two adults working intense jobs from home, I’m not happy about keeping my kids home from school and daycare and I’m completely burnt out from working at night after the kids are in bed plus juggling the day with my husband.

        But in the end, this virus looks to be more damaging than we realized and if I don’t have to be out in the world, I’m not going to do it.

        And I recognize that that’s privilege right there. I’m trying to figure out how to support teacher unions right now. And also how to donate some funds to help close the learning and technology gap in my son’s district.

      • Darla says:

        Thanks Lindy. I’m watching Texas very closely. I hope for the best outcome for you.

    • MerlinsMom1018 says:

      @ Lindy
      And let’s not forget our governor who is not only in trumpenfurher’s back pocket, but caved to the “but MY rights” crowd and opened the state way too early and when it but him in the ass, proceeded to blame anybody, everybody but himself and HIS actions.
      Native Texan here and sometimes I don’t even recognize the state I grew up in

  17. Marigold says:

    Trust me. As a teacher and counselor, we WANT to go back. Our jobs are much harder online. I’m so swamped and overwhelmed right now with the impossible workload.

    What we don’t want is to die. Or have a child die. Schools are viral cesspools. Ours is old with bad ventilation. Not too mention, at least 150 mores kids than we expected. We are packed.

    So ok. We open. Within a week Or two someone gets it and we close again. And we hope that it didn’t spread to everyone they encountered. Rinse repeat. Until someone dies or we get a vaccine.

    To many this is still something in the news. Horrible but distant. I know a lot of people from where I’m from who are business as usual. Not really taking a lot of precautions. I know one sweet family where two generations got it. And they just lost their mom. It’s devastating.

    If schools open too quickly, this be the norm. There is no good answer. We are in a pandemic that kills human beings. It is not business as usual.

    Oh. And @&$” Trump.

    • Indywom says:

      Not only if they get it, but if they do won’t parents have to quarantine also. So we will be right back in the same place.

  18. Rapunzel says:

    My college campus has already had one death and at least half a dozen employees infected. With the campus closed to pretty much everyone. I’m teaching online Summer classes, and have 3 students who tested, two positive, the other with a positive spouse. With county shutdown.

    Anyone who thinks that we should be reopening schools when we’re setting records for infections needs their head examined. This would/will prevent us from getting any control over this virus.

    And stop with the “think of the working parents and struggling kids” garbage. Working parents and kids will not be better served by dealing with the chaos these reopenings will create. And this has never been about kids. The ones pushing these openings just want mom and dad as workers, so they can continue to get rich off the back of the working class. And these same folks want to make it impossible to hold employers liable for not protecting their employees.

  19. TiredMomof2 says:

    My school district will open F2F, 5 days a week. No hybrid option offered (they can’t do it). There is a mediocre online option offered that the district is outsourcing. I’m keeping my rising senior home. I’m high risk, and i’ve been lucky enough to be able to work from home since March. Even if the education he gets is sub-optimal, I don’t care. We’ll minimize risk to our family and hopefully help de-densify the HS with 2400 kids. I feel a responsibility to keep my kid home not just for him and me, but for all of the teachers I know who will have to be back in the classroom. Most of the parents I know are sending their kids back (am in a red state and the numbers are rising). I don’t know if it’s magical thinking or wishful thinking, but I don’t believe schools are safe to reopen right now.

  20. amurph says:

    Keep in mind, many parents send their kids to school blatantly sick. I’ve had students (ages 11-14) throwing up, with pneumonia, with the flu, etc. in my classroom. I had one with pneumonia who was in the back of my room with a hacking cough. He went to the nurse multiple times and his mom wouldn’t pick him up. She insisted he was fine. Even on my end, I have weighed the pros and cons of taking a sick day when I had a severe sinus infection because it was way more work for me to stay out (sub plans – I teach 3 different contents – and even hoping to get a sub). I have thrown up at work and my principal begged me to stay rather than find coverage.
    I want to go back. I really do. I want to see my students and have some semblance of routine, but I am terrified of getting sick or passing it on to my immune compromised parents. I help with their groceries and errands in order to limit their exposure. I am terrified of losing a student or a coworker or having a student/coworker lose someone. I have already lost a friend who was 33 and a teacher in NYC. She caught it before they closed schools and she passed away within two weeks. But I am also terrified of losing my job. I’m terrified of missing a spot while cleaning my classroom since I’m now expected to use intense cleaner on every inch of my room between every class. My school is one of the newer ones in my district and we have terrible ventilation. In the warmer months, the top floor is upwards of 90 degrees. In the winter (New England), it’s reached 50 degrees. Our windows open at an angle, we don’t have AC, and have already had mold growing in the bathrooms. There is a constant struggle to keep hand soap and paper towel in the bathrooms. We have one custodian to handle a building with 700-750 people in it during the day. Even cutting that in half with 50%, that is too much for one person to clean safely. Being in a school is drastically different than working in an office or even the market. I have 52 minutes with 100+ kids a day in a room and masks are “recommended” but not required. There’s a rumor that teachers might lose their lunch break (25 minutes) to have kids eat in their classrooms.
    Schools are basically being told to make it happen with no additional funding or staffing. I don’t mean to sound whiny. This whole situation is beyond what anyone could have planned for and I know that it is just as difficult for healthcare and essential workers. Every discussion that I’ve been part of have focused solely on the students with the follow-up of “young kids don’t spread it”. Kids 10 and up do. The adults in the school do.

    • Imogene says:

      THANK YOU for this. Schools need to stay closed and teachers need to be respected.

    • TeamAwesome says:

      I would say we must teach in the same building, but I’m in AL, lol. Our building is one of the biggest and oldest on campus. Ventilation? We don’t even have an HVAC system.

  21. Jay says:

    I’ve been teaching over zoom since March and I miss the classroom desperately (I teach for a private international school, so our busiest time is now).

    It’s not only teachers, it’s the administrators, custodial staff, and (in the US) security guards that will be at risk, as well as parents and grandparents because viruses can come home, too!
    Even if it’s true that children spread it less (we don’t know enough, I think), all the people talking about how sending kids to school will allow parents to go back to work is not taking that into account – unless the community spread is controlled, it will circulate, first in schools, then in everyone’s workplace, then back to schools and so on indefinitely. And so many US workers don’t have paid sick leave. It’s an entirely foreseeable disaster.

    • Jay says:

      * edited to clarify that I miss the classroom desperately BUT I’m still wary of going back until we can be sure to do it safely! That was the essential part of my comment and I somehow deleted it, lol.

  22. JM says:

    Re: teacher pay. In my state, teachers with a master’s degree make 70k on the low end of the scale. They are contracted to work 180 days a year. At 8 hours a day (which would be more than their contracted hours), that means they’re making about $48/hr. I would say that’s pretty good pay. Yes, I know they work unpaid overtime and on weekends, but so do most other jobs, especially professional jobs. I have a master’s degree in engineering and make $100k a year. Subtracting for weekends and 3 weeks of paid time off, plus 5 holiday days, that comes to about 230 days a year. Let’s say I work 8 hours a day (I work more, almost always, plus many times on weekends). That comes to about $54/hr. That’s a little more than teachers, but it’s in the same ballpark. And teacher benefits might be better than mine. I am not sure how I feel about the return to in-person schooling this fall, but all the comments about how poorly paid teachers are just kind of bother me.

    • L says:

      That’s teacher’s pay in your state. Many teachers don’t make anywhere near 70
      or 80k even with Masters degrees. I should know I’m a teacher with a Masters degree. And so what if teachers are paid that much? People in other professions get paid that or more. Anyway the point here is that we don’t want to die! We don’t want our kids to die!

      • Becks1 says:

        I think focusing on teacher’s pay is a bit of red herring. I understand that some districts pay more (for example, Baltimore City pays a lot more than my county, two counties away) but how much is enough for teachers to risk their lives WHEN THEY DONT HAVE TO??

        I don’t know a single teacher who would not RATHER be in the classroom this fall, but given the whole pandemic going on, that may not be possible.

        I am not a teacher and having my kids home is hard as crap, lol, but damn this has become my hill today!

    • H says:

      @JM, I made $41k with a masters degree in education. It cost me $65,000 to get that masters degree. (I started at $39k with a bachelor’s degree). Your state is an outlier.

  23. Porter says:

    Just a note about teachers’ salaries for those discussing them above–if you’re looking them up online, be sure you are looking at accurate info. Sites like glassdoor and things like that are never accurate. I am a professor at a public university in NY, and glassdoor says my salary is twice what it really is. The best place to look is at the salary schedules on the teachers’ union website. Keep in mind that the only people making the max listed on the salary schedule are veteran teachers who have worked for many years. By the way, I am an Associate Professor and make under $100k, so do with that information what you will.

  24. Chelle says:

    The whole argument would look, sound and feel much better if parents stepped away from that whole “me, I need, what about us” angle they are currently taking because frankly they look like they are throwing tantrums because babysitting services have been denied.

    If parents came at it with some empathy for teachers—understanding that they don’t want to risk getting sick and that they may even have young children that they too need to supervise while they work (hmm)—the tone and decision-making processes could be different. Another shockingly novel angle would be to acknowledge that children learn best from a certified, capable teacher and when working in peer groups. That would both be acknowledging the job a teacher does while advocating for his/her child. But nooooooooo, parents are leading with “I, me, come and get my kids (because I’m tired of them and I’m not used to spending this much time with them).”

    They aren’t taking the whole school ecosystem into consideration, e.g., yellow bus service, the inability to fully social distance in a classroom packed with 25 – 30 kids, ensuring that all children adequately wash their hands and wear masks, para-professionals and aids who often work 2nd jobs (because they need to) at nursing homes or groups homes and who may unwittingly be COVID carriers, or the inability to keep classrooms and the entire school fully cleaned and sanitized, etc. Of course, what happens when the first staff member (secretary, safety officer, school lunch lady, nurse, speech path, guidance counselor, librarian, social worker, principal, assistant principal, substitute teacher (or even a parent volunteer)) calls to report that they tested positive for COVID or that they have COVID like systems? The school shuts down and these same self-righteous—me, me, I—parents then flood school board meetings to yell that their children weren’t kept safe. 🙄

    So, let’s call it what it is: parents who are pissed at the half-assed federal and state responses to this and who are now tired and exhausted because they can’t outsource childcare for the usual 8 – 10 hours (that would be the school day and extended activities) but who, in their resentment, are now dogging teachers because they make a ready and easy target for their ire.

    • KK2 says:

      I’m fine with your logistical points and even the general proposition that parents are burnt out and exhausted and taking it out on other people, but I think it’s hypocritical to complain that parents aren’t treating teachers with empathy while in the same paragraph discussing parents in such a dismissive way, exhibiting absolutely zero empathy for them (i.e. they are throwing temper tantrums because they don’t want to spend time with their kids). For most parents, the biggest issues are: (1) they have jobs and/or younger children to care for and cannot put in the level of involvement/supervision required of parents for remote schooling particularly of elementary kids; and (2) remote schooling didn’t work well in the spring so they think their kids are learning nothing. These are legitimate concerns. And a lot of these parents who want schools open have themselves been going to work for the past few months.

      • Veronica says:

        Especially because plenty of those parents getting hit hardest are the same demographic that will be hit with teaching – mainly women. We can call it “babysitting” all we want, but let’s not pretend that everybody has the privilege of a stay at home parent – in fact, most parents don’t. Impoverished families are getting hammered right now between COVID and the added expense of children being at home and needing fed, watched, and taught 24/7. This is a full on disaster all around, no doubt, but when you take a system like school out of the equation that fundamentally alters family economic structure, it’s a big f*cking deal. As I stated above, even countries with better safety nets saw fallout from this.

        There is a point to be made that if these people are going to grocery stores and hospitals and the like, should they have the privilege of arguing their service isn’t essential when it will have such a remarkably powerful impact on the community at large? I’m currently traveling for my job because pharmacies have to have running software systems. Some of the places I fly into are hot zones. I don’t think it’s fair to ask that of anyone, but I do think some of these teachers protesting should consider what this means about the importance of economic justice across the board. This should be a lesson to us all about how capitalism sees *all* of us as expendable.

      • Chelle says:

        I honestly don’t have much empathy or compassion for parents re: this issue. Seriously, I don’t. And I’m not apologetic about it. A lot of teachers are parents too. Somehow that’s missed in these conversations. They are also in the position of having to juggle their own childcare needs while at work—that is, teaching someone else’s kid. They too have to make that stone-faced, gritted teeth do not bother me right now face at their own kid(s) while they are at work with their “clients”. So, I ask, how in the world do they help their own kid with lessons and malfunctions during their own child’s “zoom class” while they are supposed to be at work teaching a “zoom class”.

        Furthermore, teachers are frustrated too. They didn’t ask to be abruptly sent home and given little to no guidance. They want proactive plans, policies and goals versus the reactive and halting half-measures that have been thrown together. And, yes, in there they also want to be safe.

        Lastly, did school districts mess this up? Yep, they sure did. They didn’t and don’t have the capacity to roll-out full on virtual learning because it’s not a teaching platform that’s been fully developed to meet the learning needs of the majority of K12 students or the instructional methods needed to foster learning for students who need teacher-led yet student-centered instruction. Another factor is that it presented a steep learning curve for most teachers, particularly at the elementary and pre-school levels. How do you assess student learning and progress when you often have to see/hear, over time, how a student processed or engaged with the work? Some of the learning activities teachers have planned to enrich, enhance or to deepen thinking about a subject doesn’t easily translate to a virtual world. It may seem like carnival season when a teacher puts up/breaks down his/her classroom, but a virtual carnival isn’t the same as one you get to experience in person.

        So, once again, I need to say that while parents are inconvenienced by the national/state public health response to COVID the tone and perhaps the direction of the argument could change if parents looked beyond or reframed the “I-me-my needs only-come get my kids-force the babysitters back to work” position many have taken.

      • Veronica S. says:

        IMO, calling it an “inconvenience” is ignoring the very real toll this is taking on poverty-stricken families. Schools provide a lot more than child care – it’s also food security and access. Plenty of people living in poverty situations don’t have access to wifi, they don’t have access to libraries, they aren’t going to have access to things like iPads, computers, books, etc. because their school systems literally cannot afford it. There are parts of rural America that literally don’t even have Internet access beyond dial up – if they even have that.

        My point isn’t that teachers should be forced back to work – neither they, the students, nor their families should be put into the position – and perhaps I didn’t clarify this well, but more that how much the United States system has coasted by on its wealth and power, and the moment a major crisis occurred, it’s finally forcing the better majority of us to recognize how expendable capitalism literally sees all of our lives. This system is broken. This system is not sustainable the moment you remove the ability to drive work through consumerism.

        We don’t have proper funding for schools and a decent intranational infrastructure for Internet and learning, so teachers and students are both getting screwed when it comes to extending education beyond the classroom.

        We don’t have decent wages, so parents are forced into situations where both parents *must* work, and their ability to work is sharply hampered by the loss of a built in time of day their children are absent.

        We don’t have national child care, so having children at home becomes a necessity because the cost of it is egregiously expensive and outside what most can afford.

        We don’t have a nationalized healthcare system, so our hospital systems are falling apart and going bankrupt when the COVID surge isn’t hitting their area fast enough, and those they *are* getting hit are significantly overwhelmed.

        We have an anti-intellectual backlash going on that has politicized a basic health crisis and wound up spreading it significantly beyond the borders of anything controllable.

        Do I think teachers should be forced back to school? Absolutely not. I don’t think anybody should be forced to work right now. But this issue is complicated precisely because America is founded on a basis on forced labor that it has cleverly hidden in propaganda that favors higher income earners while casting those in lower positions as lazy, ineffective, or just plain unambitious. It ignores the very real limitations of the socioeconomic system in which everybody is trapped. So to some extent, yes, this is a class issue – it is a fair question to ask where this outrage was for lower income workers at the start of this, particularly since that demographic has an egregiously high number of minorities in it. That’s a question we should all be asking ourselves and thinking about how this culture has trained a lot of people to see people at the bottom as expendable, and now we’re only starting to feel the brunt of it as it slowly crawls up the ladder and starts hitting people in the lower and true middle class. Late stage capitalism would gladly see us all dead for the profit of the very few, all the while insulting us while calling us “heroes” and the “pillars of society,” if only to stop us from realizing how very much it didn’t need to be like this. I hope we are all finally waking up to that.

      • Darla says:

        What a great post Veronica. Your post could be an OG blog post itself.

  25. KK2 says:

    Teacher pay varies a lot by area so I don’t think national discussions on that are terribly useful. The reopening question in general is very local, to me. In Florida and Texas? no way should they be opening right now. In my state we have reopened a lot of things- bars, restaurants (at 50% capacity supposedly) and mask compliance is generally good (with exceptions). Like a lot of places, most new cases seem to come from young adults who are out partying. We are hovering around a 5% positivity and going pretty much sideways in that regard.

    I have a 5 yo who is supposed to enter kindergarten. I was really hoping for some kind of hybrid option that would at least have him in school in person 2-3 days a week. When my school district announced that they are opening all remote until January, I was (and am) disappointed and pretty pissed. I think they should have been able to prioritize the k-3 kids at least going back on a hybrid model. I think remote learning is acceptable (though not ideal) for older kids- those kids are a bigger risk to transmit the virus and require less supervision at home. I accept that the public school system where I live is simply not capable of figuring this out, despite having a ridiculous number of administrators. It is a huge and diverse district. The logistics are not easy. But I think they should have been able to do this for the K-3s. Their plans (which are still desperately lacking in specifics) make no distinction between the early elementary kids and the high school kids. Everyone treated same. That is all a large bureaucracy is capable of doing. Personally, I would rather they just cancel kindergarten and figure it out later. Don’t try to pretend “remote kindergarten” is a thing of any value to anyone. It is a giant waste of time that is probably more detrimental to these 5 yos than just keeping them home.

    I have a part time job (presently teleworking- 2 days a week with a nanny and assorted naptimes/evenings) and a 1 yo. We are looking at private kindergartens. And I feel crappy about it because I consider myself a big supporter of public school. But this is a childcare issue for me primarily and I can’t send him back to preK! There is no space! The private K we are looking at is small and capable of implementing the CDC recommendations for schools.

    I don’t blame teachers specifically- I am sympathetic to both sides there (I am also married to an essential worker who has been going to the hospital daily throughout this, including when PPE was less than he would have liked, though he gets paid a lot more than any teacher). I mostly blame the school system/administration in general in my district for revealing that they are a ridiculous bureaucracy that is incapable of adapting or making reasonable plans tailored to different groups. If I were a teacher, would I feel confident the school system would be able to execute the precautions they promise? probably not. And that’s an indictment of a failing, overly bureaucratic, and underfunded school system.

    • Andrea says:

      KK2 – I also have a 5-year-old entering kindergarten next week, and our city has also gone the all-online route for all public schools. I agree 1,000 percent with what you are saying. I am also a nurse and have been working 36 hours a week throughout the pandemic, including, as you say, when we were without adequate PPE. I am not suggesting teachers be forced to do that, but teaching kindergarteners who are known to have an extremely low viral load, even when covid positive, if proper distancing and precautions are followed, cannot really be said to be as risky as giving direct patient care to covid positive or covid suspected patients.

      I also wish there could have been some distinctions made between kindergarteners/early elementary school kids and the higher grades. I am now faced with somehow working in healthcare, completing my NP master’s program (which I had applied and was accepted to prior to the pandemic) and teaching my 5 year old full time. My husband is a lawyer and is the primary breadwinner, so we know how much he will be involved – basically not at all. Mess. Just a fu**ing mess.

      I don’t expect teachers to make the same sacrifices as healthcare workers, because they didn’t sign up for that level of risk, but at a certain point, those of us who are considered essential – and teachers are certainly essential for so many reasons – are going to be taking on a certain level of risk. I’m not angry at teachers, but I am so, so angry at our system that has utterly failed both children and parents. And teachers, for that matter.

      I don’t know what the answer is. But how can the United States not do better than this?

    • Chelle says:

      KK2 said: But this is a childcare issue for me primarily and I can’t send him back to preK!

      Chelle says: See, I probably would or could soften my stance on the issue if parents just said it like that. If they stopped the me-me-me stuff and was just plan spoken, straight, no chasers and said “this is a childcare issue” and stopped all of that “I work 12 jobs and carry buckets of coal 20 miles road trip barefoot and I show up to work everyday and then you expect me to keep my kids and help me too!” Call it what is it. Name it. Call the thing a thing. “This is a childcare issue.” Then we might get somewhere.


      • KK2 says:

        I think people say the other things first because they are conscious of the perception that they just don’t want to be with their kids. i.e. to distinguish between being a stay at home parent who is capable of supervising remote school for young kids, and being parents who have other jobs/responsibilities that prevent them from being able to do that (without severe consequences).

        In my particular state/circle, the stay at home parents are mostly accepting of remote options (and many of them are strongly in favor). It’s the working parents who are desperate and yes, in many cases, taking it out on teachers unions etc. I do wish the anger would be directed higher in the educational/governmental hierarchy, because I think that is where fault lies. I personally try to redirect conversations to focus on that when I hear people whining about teachers unions.

        My fear, and expectation, is that working parents (mostly moms) are going to take this on and half ass both their jobs and the remote schooling supervision (because you cannot be in two places at once), juggling ad hoc babysitters, and suffering the consequences long term to their careers and their kids, but without really unleashing the anger on the appropriate state/federal officials whose poor leadership landed us here. We’ll just snipe at each other and teachers, i.e. all the people with the least power in this situation.

      • Also Ali says:

        Chelle: You are making my point as well. Most mothers who work outside the home rely on their kids going to school during the day to be able to do so. You know who doesn’t? Fathers who work outside the home. They rely on their wives. Which is why childcare is such a non-issue for most of corporate America. Because it isn’t a work/family issue. It’s an issue for working women with children and this is the first time it has been so glaringly obvious.

      • Chelle says:

        Exactly. If it’s framed as a childcare issue, and that’s not to devalue teachers or K12 education, then some of those bigger issues can be addressed. However, people want to avoid that at all costs.

        Every teacher that I know was just waiting for the other COVID shoe to drop. The other COVID shoe is teachers being back at work. Without teachers providing “childcare” most women cannot work (single or married). Household wages either drop to zero it it’s a single parent or the household wages drop if a women’s income is removed–even if it’s a same sex f:f household. Someone has to stay with the kids. Those things speak to the cost of living and not just gender politics. Also, a lot of women that I know carry their families’ healthcare insurance through their employer versus that of their husband’s.

        Then the other argument that kills me is that people say that schools need to open because some kids are in violent or abusive households and/or don’t get regular meals. I’m not disputing that school is a safe haven for many kids. This isn’t about that, per se. However, we (as a society) aren’t going to address the issues that require kids to need a safe haven? The solution is just to reopen schools and say “phew, we’ve dodged that bullet. Lil Billy will only starve or get beat up on the weekends.” WTF.

  26. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    My niece is a 1st grade teacher. She has a son starting kindergarten this year and just have birth to her 2nd son on the 25th of this month. This isn’t even a discussion with her. Nope and no way. I don’t blame her or any other teacher for refusing to go back and for standing their ground on this

  27. Imogene says:

    Former elementary teacher here: Once, a kid sneezed into my mouth.

    Keep schools closed until it is safe because we have a vaccine. That is all.

  28. Caty Page says:

    Students of color from low-income households are statistically more likely to have asthma AND to catch Covid.

    That means in-person learning is more likely to kill students of color than white students. Online learning is not a viable alternative for many students of color, though.

    It’s almost like the problem isn’t with teachers, but with a system that fails students of color at all levels.

    I post with my real name and I’m a Chi. Public School teacher. I want to openly state that Betsy DeVos is not only disregarding children of color, but actively trying to kill them.

    • Anna says:

      Fellow Chicagoan here and I second this.

    • Darla says:

      I hate that woman. I don’t know how we got here and I don’t know the way out. My feeling is no matter what we do now, children will suffer. We just haven’t done right by them on this. An entire culture who has thrown children under the bus. Is that a people worth saving? I have my doubts.

  29. Rad says:

    That is because teachers are in that demographic that the GOP could care less about. It has never been about education, it’s about the THREAT of education – of having someone impress young lives to strive to be more, to be better. “Teach to the standardized tests”. Period. And since we have standardized testing, we no longer need art, music, Civics, etc.

    Just keep voting the GOP into office. Please.

    • Chelle says:

      Ditto this. I have teacher friends in WI. The former governor basically “broke” the teacher unions there but did not do anything to break the fire or police unions.

  30. Mel says:

    My son is asthmatic, I will NOT be sending him to his HS school in Sept. I live in NY so I think we won’t be open for school. My other child decided to stay local for college for his freshman year because he was wary of a dorm situation now, who the heck is going to have dorms open and how are they going to manage these kids, professors and the people who just work at the school not becoming infected and it spreading though out a town?

    • Darla says:

      I actually think we have a decent chance of opening in NY, but i don’t know for how long. We’re doing very well right now, compared to many states. We’re not a hot spot at any rate. But asthma, no that’s high risk. And a hybrid model would keep your child home, and then that’s a job for a high risk teacher. You know, the high risk teachers would teach the high risk students online. But I really don’t know how well any of this is going to work. I am dreading this fall and this winter. I imagine we all are.

  31. HeyThere! says:

    My heart goes out to every teacher being having to choose between their HEALTH AND THEIR FAMILIES HEALTH VS. Keeping their job. There has to be another way. I know so many teachers and nobody seems to be consulting them on their opinion when they are the ones in the schools?!?!

    I saw a meme that was like a few months ago we let out prisoners yet now we are sending kids back to school?!?! 😑 I say each district can ask the teacher point blank if they wish to return or E learn? That should be their choice!!!

  32. Tiffany :) says:

    My perspective is “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”-esque.

    We are in the middle of a crisis, of a global emergency. Our 1st concern if we are to SURVIVE this is to focus on the absolute vital needs. Education is a higher level need than safety. If we don’t have the fundamental need of safety met, then we can not possibly hope to address the higher level need of education.

    At the root of it, the school issue doesn’t seem to be about actual education, but rather child care, safe spaces, getting food to hungry kids. I think communities need to take the idea of education out of it, and work to address the more urgent and vital needs of childcare and food support.

    We can find a way to teach lost lessons in the summer of 2021. We just need our families to live that long in order for that to happen.

  33. Keshet says:

    Turn all the schools into boarding schools. Small classes quarantined together. Teacher behind plexiglass. No one goes home.

  34. Anna says:

    People forget: teaching is a job. We are not babysitters, therapists, housekeeping. This line about “do it for the kids” or “teach for the love of it” is gaslighting bullshit that keeps the largely female population of teachers undervalued and underpaid. We have little job security, majority no benefits if you count part-time faculty who also have no retirement plans, and are expected to put up with every little thing students and parents want to lob at us. Seriously, it’s a job. It’s not some glorious-called-by-God-vocation that we are supposed to be overjoyed to do even if we’re living below poverty level. What a crock. We can be great at our jobs and still have a healthy boundary, knowing that this is a job for which we deserve to be paid properly.

  35. Crumpets and Crotchshots says:

    Anyone who thinks children will be able to properly keep socially distanced with masks on does not know children. Anyone who thinks children will not be licking their fingers and chasing and tackling each other on the playground while shouting “corona!” Does not know children.

    • Marigold says:

      About younger children going back to school, I heard a father sum it up this way. He was trying to add levity to the discussion, so this comes out as a “joke,” but he was serious and he was being real. He has three children and one of them is a 7 year-old. He said:

      “Just make the kids wear masks and social distance? Are you f-ing kidding me? I’m gonna send [my son] to school in a Spiderman mask and he’s gonna come home wearing a Batman mask, and I’m gonna have to find out who he got it from and whether or not little Mister Batman knows how to sing his ABC’s twice when washing his hands. This is bulls-.”

      So. I agree. I don’t envy either parents or teachers of the younger kids dealing with this. It’s beyond my comprehension why so many are choosing not to take this seriously.

  36. Ionio says:

    Our kids had 10 weeks of camp with masks on and surprisingly the 4-5 year-old group kept masks on without a problem. The older kids were even better at it. You set rules and the kids will follow them.

    • Caty Page says:

      @ionio, How many students to each counselor? Did any of the children have special needs? Were the majority of students from high-trauma backgrounds, as those students tend to have higher behavioral needs? Did most of the students have the capacity to emotionally regulate, something I often have to spend months teaching? Did any of the children have to make a specific score on a test at the end of camp or could counselors focus on safety? How long was the camp day?

      I dont think your comparison is malicious, but I think it reflects a lack of understanding about schools with high-need populations.

      Edited to add: one of my job credentials is “certified behavioral specialist,” but many people outside the field fail to account for the extent of that category of needs

  37. Rose says:

    Face it, teachers are going to be demonized no matter what happens. I’ve never understood why parents shit on us constantly and make the public school responsible for literally every ill in society.

    Everyone demanding to open schools as normal isn’t realizing that once the staff has to quarantine, gets sick or dies we’ll have to shut down anyway. My partner is also a teacher in a different district, so if either one of us gets sick or exposed the other will have to quarantine. We’ll burn through our leave and then be unpaid—I’m high risk, so I’ll probably die. And no one cares. If I could afford to quit I’d do it.

  38. ChristineM65 says:

    I have nothing to add here as I think a lot of really great points have been made. I’m just proud of every one of the Celebitchies who didn’t resort to any name calling or anything and a rational discussion about this issue from ALL POV was discussed. Perhaps if the CB’ers were in charge of the country we could come up with a better solution than this worthless shi!tstain’s admin has. Just an observation. Love you all!

  39. Just a thought says:

    Teachers should not be ask to risk their lives and endanger their families lives. I live in Texas it possible that the election could come down to Texas. A lot of Texans are going to vote as soon as Oct 13 that when early voting starts. I live in a district 10 where ads for the general election are the airwaves now.

  40. Marigold says:

    My daughter is beginning her senior year of high school online, and she’s not happy about it, but she has said several times, “the risk is just too high, and some of my teachers would be seriously at risk because of age and pregnancy.” I love that she looks at it pragmatically that way. She’s being robbed of a proper senior year, which is a rite of passage in the US, but she knows that the risk outweighs the desire for “her year.”

    Our church remains online-only. Her school remains online-only. Yes. It sucks. It’s also necessary.

    Schools are petri dishes, as it is. Every bug that passes through the area passes through the school. You cannot ask educators and kids to willingly expose themselves to that and then add the force of law (education is non-optional in the US) to it. I will NOT send my kid back to school until we’ve seen the COVID numbers pass by, and I will NOT support the government forcing teachers back into that environment, either.