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Anyone else work in a school and afraid to go back?

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  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,109

    When I walk into the classrooms tomorrow, all the desks will be back in, but we will still be in Hybrid mode five days a week until after spring break, April 5th. I think they are making a big mistake but only time will tell. They told parents that they can keep their child virtual until the end of the year if they want to. They can also keep their students home until April 19, to put a few weeks between spring break and going back to an "all in" environment.

    If we closed down every time someone tested positive, my school wouldn't be open at all! Friday we had a staff member and a student test positive. We have positive cases almost every day.

    Our students come into a room, sanitize their hands, sit down and a few minutes before the end of class they are given paper towels and their desk is sprayed with cleaner and they clean their own desk and chair and throw their paper towel out when they leave class. They are dismissed from class in "waves" so the halls don't get crowded. It is far from perfect, but probably the best it can be.

    I am extremely thankful to have had a vaccine and for my husband to have received his first vaccine! I didn't fear getting sick, I feared dying! Now that we have both been vaccinated, my anxiety level is very low!!!! The day after my vaccine I was exhausted, I am sure it was due to feeling free of the anxiety built up inside me since August.

    It feels so good going to work without fear of death! Of course I am still masking, distancing, washing hands etc, but no longer carry the fear! Feels like a new lease on life!


  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311

    Mavericksmom, Being afraid and anxious is not good for your health either. I'm glad you and your husband received the vaccine and you have less anxiety! Trusting the children to do a good job disinfecting is probably a mistake. Even if you are having positive cases I'm sure they aren't as sick as in the beginning of covid, especially the teenagers. Do you really know if they are out because they were exposed to someone or if they have mild symptoms and are recovering well? I'm sure that isn't reported. The unknowns is what makes us all afraid. I hope you continue to do well. In nursing it is the facts, safe routines/practices, and universal precautions that keep us safe. We will get through this. I feel the dark days are way behind us. Keeping the children out of the classroom is not the answer. Maybe those teachers and staff who think so need to rethink their careers. Best wishes.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,734

    I have to say that I was surprised that students are cleaning their own areas. I have half my class in the morning and half in the afternoon with a 90 minute break in between. Our custodians clean the rooms between am and pm and use one of those fog spray types of machines.

    I disagree that teachers and staff who are not feeling safe should find a different career. There are some careers where you understand that the nature of your job may result in injury or death but teaching is not one of them! I have had virtually no fear of returning to the classroom (I couldn’t wait!) but I know quite a few staff members who were/are very fearful. My district has worked hard to accommodate everyone, both staff and students. About 30% of our families still don’t feel comfortable coming back yet so teachers who are not comfortable coming back are providing distance learning for those students. No need to rethink careers, just a need to think outside the box. Again, while I have no personal fear, we need to respect those who do and not simply say that they need to find another career. Hopefully, when the new school year arrives, we can go back to some semblance of normal. I am retiring after this year, unrelated to the pandemic, but I will be subbing at some point and look forward to that too.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,109

    I was surprised that students were asked to clean their own desks too, but that was decided by the administration.

    The Covid cases I mentioned at school are those who tested positive. They tell us numbers as soon as they are made aware. I suspect many more were positive but didn't notify the school. The school is diligent about contact tracing. How sick they are is not always known, although they list their last day in school and if they were asymptomatic, which they always are. Any child who exhibits signs of illness in school is sent to the nurse.

    I also don't feel teachers who fear Covid should look for another job.

    I do hope we are on our way back to normal and I am glad all the students will be back! I can't help them on their virtual days if they don't join the Zoom!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,734

    I hear you , mavericksmom! As to those who don’t report a positive COVID test, does your county do contact tracing? I don’t think there are any/many in my district who have tested positive but not informed the district due to diligent contact tracing. Of course, they could lie but I think that is not a widespread problem. We did have a kindergarten class sent home last week because someone tested positive. We don’t know if it was a student or an adult due to HIPPA (sp?) laws, which I am fine with. I get my second vaccine next Wednesday and my district has a plan in place if a teacher is feeling unwell after a vaccine. Most of my district will be fully vaccinated by the end of next week since almost all of us had our vaccines during the first week we were eligible. I suppose we could have a lot of absences of too many feel unwell.

    I am glad that Zoom exists, but I don’t think it’s great, long term, for most students. However we should never force staff or students back to school if they feel unsafe. Next school year will likely be a different story but despite vaccines, we still can’t say we have the virus under control, not yet.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,734

    As of late yesterday, I am fully vaccinated

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,109

    Thank you to all who commented on this thread! Wow, what a year!!! School ends for me on June 16 and I couldn’t be happier! It can’t come soon enough!

    We had so many Covid positive students and staff, that I wonder how I avoided it! Being vaccinated was a turning point, both for me and a large portion of students and staff! Hopefully there will be a rollout of vaccines for the under 12 group of children very soon!

    It looks as if the new school year in September will begin more normal. We still mask and clean at school, because not all the students can be vaccinated, but the fear of Covid is gone!

    I still find it hard not to mask in stores, but I am sure that will change with time. I still mask, but stopped wiping off groceries, wiping down my cart and wearing gloves.

    I really hope we are going back to normal and we don’t end up with a surge like some countries experienced!

    Again, THANK YOU ALL!!! I know all of your comments here kept me going and I am sure many of you feel the same! It was a rough year but we survived it!

  • bcincolorado
    bcincolorado Member Posts: 4,696

    I am glad you made it through the year. My daughter and son are teachers and both were terrified all year as well. May next year be better for all.

  • kksmom3
    kksmom3 Member Posts: 101

    I am done in 3 more days. We have dropped the mask mandate. I am still wearing it thru the end though, in support of some students whose parents need them to. I'm in kindergarten, so it's definitely up to their parents. Fully vaccinated as of last March, thank God I didn't get covid. I still wonder what next year will look like.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,734

    I only have three more days as well and I'm done...forever. I will be retiring and although I know it's the right time for me, I am going to miss it so much! I will eligible to sub starting in January and am looking to sub 2-3 days a week. I will also be picky about who I sub for and will only take jobs by request in advance. No, I'm not being bratty but there is a severe sub shortage so I have the upper hand ✋.

  • pi-xi
    pi-xi Member Posts: 177

    I have three weeks left with students but we are on remote right now and have been for two weeks as our government created the worst wave of the pandemic yet and we are now the worst spot in North America. Still, they are considering sending us back on Monday. 😱

  • pi-xi
    pi-xi Member Posts: 177

    Got my second vaccine dose today. Heading back to in-person work with very small numbers of students at the end of the week. Can't wait for the end of this school year.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,109

    Congrats on second vaccine, Pi-Xi! I am down to my last three days. Students have half days and I am not sure how many will even show up. No finals this year, all grades are being calculated and finalized so nothing for students to do. Most teachers planned on fun activities, but that is just to have something for the kids to do. Pretty much a waste of time.

    I am not sure what is going on with the virus, but in my area of PA it is pretty much back to pre pandemic status. We still mask at work because many students are too young for a vaccine and we don’t even know how many students who are eligible, received the vaccine. I still wear a mask when I go to the store. Many don’t and they don’t have to. I do it because of my young grandson who has a heart condition and is too young for the vaccine.

    I still have concerns about relaxing all the mandates so early and quickly,but like they say, you can’t fight city hall!

    This was a school year like no other and I hope we never have to go through one like this again!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,734

    We got a wonderful surprise on Tuesday. The school board voted to give a $1,000. Bonus to all members of my union (those holding professional credentials). I hope they gave bonuses to the employees who belong to another union as our support staff is the foundation upon which we all walk and you know what happens if your foundation isn’t strong. For me, it was a nice “parting gift” 😊 .

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311

    Congrats on your retirement exbrnxgrl !!

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,109

    WOW, that was nice, exbrnxgrl ! I got docked 5 days pay for snow days! Normally they gave us ways to make those up, but not this year, so I lost a week's pay. We weren't even allowed to use our sick or personal days to make up for them. I am finally done with this year, today is my first day of summer vacation and I decided to just let it all go! Worst year ever and a slap in the face to support staff at the end of the year. I hope to retire after next year or maybe the year after, and I have just learned that there are things the district does that are out of my control and not worth losing sleep over! I prefer to look at the positive. While I lost a week this year, I could have lost months last year, but the district paid the support staff, even though many of the employees, like bus drivers didn't even work. I worked remotely, but there were a few weeks in between lock down and setting up zooms, where I didn't work at all.

    The most important thing is that WE SURVIVED THIS HORRIBLE YEAR!!!!! ((((((Cyber Hugs to all who commented here!))))))))

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,734

    mavericksmom,

    Ouch! That was rather miserly and unfair of your district. Are you a union member? If so, your contract should cover the snow day situation. I just checked our school board agenda and see that the one time bonus we got was given to all full time employees. My school district is not perfect but they try to do the right thing most of the time. It still hasn’t quite hit home that I’m retired but I’m sure I’ll get used to it! However, I confess that I’m looking forward to subbing come January.

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 735

    I found a new school and I'm really excited about it! There were things I loved about my previous school but various aspects of administration/"leadership" were NOT among them, and it made my life extremely stressful the last few years. I've heard great things about my new school and the schedule they gave me looks like a dream. The official paperwork should go in next week and then maybe I'll let myself believe it's real!

  • pi-xi
    pi-xi Member Posts: 177

    Congratulations, Salamandra!

    My contract has been reduced but, unfortunately, my workload is about the same. A great ending to this year. 👎🏻

  • dancemom
    dancemom Member Posts: 404

    I'm terrified of fall. I'm a dance teacher and I work in 3 different environments- a dance school, a preschool and an afterschool program, mostly with very young children. I've had a few in person classes since last Oct. I am sure that's how I got covid. I got a notice of exposure the previous week from the preschool the same day I came down w a fever. I double mask when teaching, I wash constantly, use hand sanitizer between groups of kids.

    I am now fully vaccinated plus already had Covid-19, but many of the incoming kids have never been in a group setting. They will be catching every single bug out there all at once! I am afraid of all the colds and whatever else all these little guys with no normal exposure will be getting and transmitting.

    The incoming 2- 3s this summer never had to wear a mask before and many parents are not understanding that here it is the law and its to keep us all safe. Unvaccinated MUST wear a mask inside- that means all kids under 12 automatically. Last fall and spring, parents trained the tinies to keep them on at school. Now that things are opening, many parents don't feel the need to do that, so the teachers get exposed.

    Yeah, I'm scared.

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311

    Hi Dancemom, I can understand why you would be nervous with this age group. I watched my grandson 3-days a week and he spent 2-days in day care. My daughter and I were so sick from what he would bring home. We used to pray for diarrhea instead of vomiting. It was similar to when my children started school so many years ago. We just heard for the fall the children don't have to wear mask and we are thankful for that. My grandson's 3rd grade class were so very good about wearing the mask and washing their hands. My daughter's 7th graders were not. When a child's mask was tested for pathogens they found streptococcus, escherichia coli, staph, to name just a few. Some children broke out in mysterious rashes. Some fainted while trying to play sports. All you can do is continue to wear your mask and follow the universal precautions. Hopefully things will look more like normal in the fall.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,109

    I think this fall will be worse than last year! I feel as if everyone has decided they are tired of Covid and we should ignore the Delta strain and go back to how things were "pre-pandemic"! No one wants to mandate masking! My superintendent already sent out letter and it is "back to normal," optional masking, no contact tracing, no distancing, no cleaning beyond emptying trask cans and whatever the custodians did pre-pandemic, and full capacity busses and classrooms!

    I WILL wear a mask because I fear breakthrough Covid, I was given the less effective J&J vaccine, and I work with 6th graders who aren't old enough for a vaccine! How thoughtless to expose our young children???? I feel for the kids whose "responsible" parents will make them mask up, which includes my grandchildren, ages 5&7. I better not hear anyone teasing them!

    Masking done right, (clean daily mask, proper fitting), etc, helps a lot! I think it is pure stupidity not to mask in schools this fall, until everyone has a chance to be vaccinated!




  • pi-xi
    pi-xi Member Posts: 177

    Mavericksmom, I agree with you 100%!

    In my head, I am not sure I’ve convinced myself to go back. Maybe I could survive without the money, but I’d hate to leave a good school with awesome colleagues.

  • bcincolorado
    bcincolorado Member Posts: 4,696

    Just saw on the news here about a charter school opening with NO mask requirements at all.

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,167

    image

  • flowerkid
    flowerkid Member Posts: 83

    hi

    Dancemom I hear your fears. After a year off due to cancer treatment and fear of covid, I agreed to return to teach preschool, 2-3 year olds. I am not yet sure what the mask policy will be. I am vaccinated and will certainly wear a mask, but I am concerned. Trying not to worry too much though, since all I have read indicated breakthrough is not horrific.

    I also can't understand why masks may not be mandated. I am hopeful that the school I work in and where my (vaccination) kids go will be masked.

    Practical question: has anyone found a clear mask that they like (and that isn't too pricey?). I do feel like that would be helpful for little kids .

    And - I am with ya, spookiesmom!

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,109

    Hi to everyone heading back to school this year!

    My district is opening in pre-pandemic mode. Sadly, this has become a political issue, not a health issue as it should be. We are constantly being divided, vaxers/non vaxers, anti maskers/pro maskers, Republican/Democrat. We are always being faced with picking a "side!"

    When did life get this crazy???? It should NOT be this way!

    Just a as "guns don't kill, people do," social media doesn't mislead, People do! Both Guns and Social Media appear to be here to stay. Depressing doesn't even come close to how I feel!

    My emotional self was thrown off a cliff last year. Not being able to get a vaccine, while being surrounded by people who tested positive for Covid, was too much. When I did get a vaccine, I was FORCED to settle for the less effective J & J vaccine because apparently school staff were not worthy of the Pfizer vaccine in my state! I find I don't care as much about my own health anymore. But, my heart goes out to the students!

    I will wear a mask going back in the fall. I wear it because half our school students, grades 5-8, are not old enough to get a vaccine. You would think that alone would cause the schools to mask mandate, but nope, not happening! Not only that, we won't be doing anything, according to our school district web page, to fight against Covid. For whatever reason they appear to just wish it would go away, and act like it has gone away!

    When did morons take over all common sense? I 100% agree that children need to be back in school in person, but why all-in with no safety measures?They will continue to send in students on a bus, three to a seat! No mask mandate.

    I can't believe the Governor of Florida is punishing school districts for mask mandates! No matter what one's political view is, it is hard to understand how any sane adult could risk young lives for the sake of a political party? There is simply no need for such a law, removing districts of their right to provide a safe environment for their students. Law suites won't bring back young lives should they fall prey to the variant.

    I will go back to work, I will wear a mask, but I won't say a pledge to a flag that represents such an uncompassionate, undemocratic, divisive country. Sorry if that sounds too political but I am sick of ALL politics and the insanity it has become!

  • kksmom3
    kksmom3 Member Posts: 101

    SAME.... Mavericksmom, as you so eloquently put it! I'm in Iowa, I too, have an idiot Republican governor. What on earth! I have 1 more year, then I'm retiring, if I last that long. I am vaccinated with Moderna, but I know I will have kindergarten students that will probably contract this! Why is a tiny piece of cloth such a hardship for people!?! I will mask up for my kids!!!!

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,167

    FloriDuh man.

  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 679

    I guess I'm more fatalistic. I teach in a state uni, full time. I had to teach in person, with half my students in the classroom, 4 days a week, while teaching the other half simultaneously on Zoom, all while only wearing a mask and socially distancing, washing hands and sanitizing-- not fully vaccinated till mid-March although I was one of the first group to get a vaccine. Our county roll out was ridiculous, and anyone who was a univ instructor even if they weren't teaching physically in a classroom could get one, so it was a mad crazy free for all. I drove three hours to Phoenix to get both doses there.

    So no, compared to last year, I am not scared to return to the classroom, where I'll have full classes this year, no vaccine requirement for students to attend classes, and masks will only be recommended since I live crazy-zona, where our governor made it illegal statewide for mandatory mask requirement or vaccinations. I just hope my 18+ and over students are smart enough to get vaccinated before they step into my classroom.

    I can say last year was the worst, most stressful year in my teaching career, including the academic year where I taught full time while getting chemo and radiation. I figure anything is going to be better than last year.

    PS I was also dx with Meniere's Disease this April, which seemed to be brought on and certainly exacerbated by the stress of teaching as described above. I will be retiring soon.