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

Forum: All things COVID-19 or coronavirus —

A place to discuss the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on you and the ones you love.

Posted on: Jul 21, 2020 10:02AM - edited Jul 21, 2020 10:03AM by Mavericksmom

Mavericksmom wrote:

Now that my breast cancer is pretty much a "non-concern" I thought life would be less stressful. It isn't, in fact I don't know what caused me more stress, cancer of Covid.

I work in a middle school giving support to special education students within the regular education classes. This requires me to be "up close and personal" with my students. Of course, I will find a way to somewhat distance myself from them, but doubt it will be 6 feet all the time.

Where I live, suburbs of Philadelphia, there has been a slight increase of cases, but we aren't a "hot spot." We are, however, at a higher rate than when schools closed in the spring. I don't feel safe going back, even with half the student numbers, because most of my classes pre-Covid had 35 students. We were crammed in rooms.

No one knows what they are doing but I am so angry because all the students are at the age where their spread of the disease is the same rate as for adults. Have you seen how unsanitary kids are? I love them, but I always told people I work in a germ factory, and that is before Covid was ever heard of! I work with 6th and 7th graders.

I am retirement age, but need to work another 2 years or so to get our debt paid down to where I can afford to retire. Retiring now would be a disaster. I hate the comments I get from people at work, they think just because I am of age, I can afford to retire. I am not a highly paid teacher. I don't make the big bucks! I didn't work for the district for 30 years just to be forced to retire earlier than I can afford to.

The school administration acts as if it is no big deal. The teacher's union has protested going back in the buildings at this time, but the administration is holding on to their plan. Most every staff member wants to open as on-line only at least until we see how things play out. Everyone wants to be back in the school but only when it is safe. I know my life is one of the ones who is thought to be "expendable." My death would be looked at the same as all the poor souls from nursing homes, kind of, "well they had a good life" attitude. My heart literally breaks for all who have died from this and all who are going through so much pain and suffering. No one talks about the financial hit people are taking. Anyone who was hospitalized, especially in ICU, have a huge bill waiting for them.

I decided since I can't count on the schools to respect my life, I need to do all I can to protect myself when classes resume. I will wear gloves, face mask and face shield. I will distance myself as much as I can and supply my own wipes and hand sanitizer. I will try not to use the bathroom at school. I don't know what else to do?

I didn't survive breast cancer twice just to die of a virus because those in power are tired of the pandemic!

What are others doing? Your thoughts would be appreciated.


Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Jul 31, 2020 01:44PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

I will be 64 at the end of September. Like you, despite being stage IV, my mo believes my cancer does not put me at greater risk (not on any immuno-suppressive drugs). Cancer and Covid 19 are two very different things so I’m not sure what your husband is getting at. When our county health department says that we can return to the classroom safely, we will but for now I am glad that the decision has been taken out of my hands.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jul 31, 2020 01:45PM flashlight wrote:

My 9 year old grandson learned that he wasn't going back to school until maybe November. He burst out crying. My daughter is a 7th grade teacher and at a different school. They will be doing a hybrid plan and she will have to be at school daily. All paraprofessionals have been let go. I think her school district will okay early retirement. Those who feel compromised can do online learning in any class or take a 6-month leave. My daughter had very few students show up for online learning when school closed, now a parent/adult has to be present at all times. Good luck with that. At the hospital child care was available for all first responders. So far not one child or caregiver has come down with Covid. In Delaware people have commented they would like to see the teachers paid less and property taxes decreased since schools are not open.

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 1/27/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 31, 2020 03:23PM - edited Jul 31, 2020 03:26PM by exbrnxgrl

flashlight,

As I'm sure your daughter can attest, what happened in the spring was emergency teaching. We had no time for planning or preparation. I believe that like my school district, most school districts spent the summer, with teachers volunteering their time, preparing for both distance and hybrid learning situations. Our fall distance learning looks nothing like the spring! Since I teach elementary school, first grade, an adult will be present (can't comment on middle or HD). My state has also instituted mandatory attendance and instructional minutes per day. Our schools may not be open but teachers are still working (as we were in the spring) and teaching. Since I was teaching from my dining room table, I actually had to work more! I will be teaching from my classroom, sans students, but it will be easier since I have all my “stuff" there. Again, many of us worked all summer to make sure that distance learning will be rigorous and effective (though not perfect). Many of us spent weekdays helping to organize and distribute grab and go meals so no student went hungry. I can't imagine that teachers in Delaware operate that much differently so I hope someone educates those in the community regarding reacher pay and taxes. In my entire teaching career, I have never worked as hard as I did this summer to insure that all students in my district have a rigorous, robust program to return to. Our aides were not let go and have been assigned mainly to the younger grades. Online, they will work with small groups of students delivering lessons designed by the classroom teacher to address differentiation in learning needs.My county still has a high infection rate, so our county health department does not advise return to in person teaching and learning.

Tell your grandson that this teacher cried too. I'd much rather be together with my students in person but not at the risk of anyone's health and safety. Again, I can only speak for my school district but between our summer planning and great communication with parents and the community at large, the return to distance learning will look much different than it did in the spring.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Aug 1, 2020 04:47AM Spookiesmom wrote:

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Aug 1, 2020 06:15AM flashlight wrote:

exbrnxgrl, Good luck to you. Yes, even in the spring my daughter was working overtime. She still had daily lesson plans, teaching, and had to help my grandson at the same time. The school district had her call daily every student that didn't show up. Some mothers told her "try his cell". We also hope things will be different this time. She did help with grab n go meals and helped empty classrooms/lockers so students could pick up their belongings outside of the school. So far she has only been in her class room once. I think they will have more instruction in the next couple of weeks. The unknown is always scary.

My grandson's 2nd grade teacher did a drive by his house a few weeks ago and he was so excited to see her. I think his school will offer a mental health session to help the younger kids get through this.

I appreciate all teachers!! Best wishes to you.

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 1/27/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 1, 2020 06:28AM - edited Aug 1, 2020 07:07AM by flashlight

Spookiesmom, Please don't make this political. Mikel Jollett is a musician who dislikes Trump. The virus isn't a Republican or Democrat virus. We are in a pandemic with unknowns and both sides have made mistakes. Even the scientist made mistakes. As a nation we will get through this, but it shouldn't mean we have to stay locked in our basements forever. In no way are we at the same level as we were in March. Much more is known and improved. The American people are resilient and we will get through this.

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 1/27/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 1, 2020 08:13AM - edited Aug 1, 2020 08:15AM by ruthbru

I taught for 38 years & have been subbing for the last 7. I have no idea what the schools should do. I know that online learning doesn't hold a candle to the 'real' classroom experience (for the kids, and for the teachers), but also know that the safety measures that will be needed to even try to have in-person school will take out much of the fun & excitement of what we would consider to be a 'normal' school experience. Our governor has left it to each school district to decide, which makes sense as we have some towns who might have 8 kids in a whole GRADE. I live in a mid-size town. The middle school where I taught (and where I sub) is very old, with kids crammed into classrooms like sardines. No matter what measures they put in place, I don't see how they can follow the social distancing, 'stay out of crowded places' guidelines. I am 99.9% certain that I won't sub this year, at least until I see how it goes, as it is really just an experiment, isn't it? My heart goes out to my active teacher friends, the students, the parents, the administration, the School Board......every stakeholder. There are no 'right' answers at this point.

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2020 08:39AM Spookiesmom wrote:

Guess you missed my previous posts where I’ve mentioned my DD is a music teacher in an elementary school with population of over 400. That she intends to keep her 2 kids out of their buildings until this is better. Or that I’m a very thankful to be retired bus driver.

Not intended to be political.

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Aug 1, 2020 08:49AM Mavericksmom wrote:

Flashlight, Trump made the pandemic political, but I agree, it shouldn't be. I will say I am furious that Trump didn't do all he could to stop this from being as bad as it is, and I will always believe he is the cause of the death of thousands of innocent people. I have relatives in Europe who are pretty much back to normal, the Covid virus is under control because their leaders did what needed to be done early.

Opening schools is political, like it or not, a trickle down from the president. It is impacting how schools are opening.

I believe there are remote areas in most states that can safely return to school as they did prior to the pandemic, and areas that should not even consider opening in person for an extended length of time. That is why opening schools needs to be done locally, not state wide and certainly not nationally.

In a perfect world this would all be science based, not political based, but as we all know, that isn't the case and it won't ever be. Every district deals with politics all the time no matter who the president is, school board members are elected to that office.

So, moving forward, we all need to work within the rules that have been set in our individual communities. Going back isn't going to be easy for any of us. I am okay with going back to half the students, but not all. I think that is the way my district is leaning. I worked for years using sterile technique and while I can't say for certainty I won't get the virus, I am going to do what I can to avoid it. If called back into the building I plan to wear a face mask, face shield and gloves. I will clean surfaces, try to keep kids distanced safely, and once home immediately shower and change clothes. Shoes will be off at the door as they are now.

I worry about how opening will play out. Some here said they are opening remotely but a parent of elementary students must be present for on line study and I don't know how that can happen! What about single parents, parents with jobs, etc.? I don't think any of the scenarios are going to work for all, which is why many districts gave options. Our lives have become so disrupted by this pandemic that I don't think "normal" will ever return. What we are doing is trying to find a new normal.

I do find it interesting that many of the parents in my area who are screaming the loudest that their kids need to be back in school full time, are also the parents who screamed that their kids had homework! I am not even talking about too much homework, I am talking about small amounts of homework. You can't learn math in school or remotely if you don't practice the problems after the lesson has been taught. Our school finally caved to parent pressure and gave up on grading homework, but let me tell you, it showed at test time and then those very same parents screamed that the tests were too hard for their child. In my district, the importance of education (not to be confused with importance of being IN a school building), has steadily declined over the last 20 years. I don't know how many other districts caved to the parents, but in my district, parents rule. That is why teachers and staff have not had even one survey about school openings, but parents have had two or three!

I hope this pandemic will have many positive effects on education. I attended Zoom conferences and other on line work shops this summer and they do have a permanent place in education. The middle school I am at already did their science and social studies curriculum using on line programs in the classroom prior to the pandemic.

Anyone who starts school in August, please find a few minutes to let us know how things go!

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Aug 1, 2020 10:35AM exbrnxgrl wrote:

flashlight, if it’s any consolationthe parents in my district care very much about education. I teach in Silicon Valley and parents are very active in their children’s educations and value achievement (sometimes too much!). They have no desire to go against country health department guidelines and most would not send their children to school under current conditions.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Aug 1, 2020 01:25PM flashlight wrote:

Spookiesmom , Sorry this subject has made me so emotional. The children are having such a hard time dealing with this and it is heartbreaking. I know it isn't easy for the parents either. Comments are very interesting. My nephew will be returning to school full time in his district. The classes are small. The local Y is trying to come up with a program to help students while their parents work. Another school is going to let kindergarten to 3rd grade go full time. My daughter will start late August and I will do my best helping my grandson. I still don't understand the new math!! I am trying to make a few masks. My neighbor is an art teacher and she is praying she will still have a job. These are confusing times.

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 1/27/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 1, 2020 02:22PM ruthbru wrote:

I think everyone is emotional because everyone is so scared, and there is no clear path forward. Even the brightest scientists can only give educated guesses as this virus has never been seen before. 💗

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2020 02:28PM - edited Aug 1, 2020 02:34PM by exbrnxgrl

flashlight,

If you're talking about Common Core math, check out this website , Engage NY:

https://www.engageny.org/

Click on grade 3 math and follow the links. I often have parents use this site to help them understand new terminology, such as number bond, and to ease their anxieties. There really is nothing “new”, just a shift away from rote memorization to a deeper understanding. For example, when I ask my students different ways to make 5, I want them to understand that there are different ways to compose and decompose numbers to make 5.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Aug 1, 2020 05:04PM flashlight wrote:

exbrnxgrl, Thank you I will check it out.

ruthbru, You are right!


Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 1/27/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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21 hours ago kksmom3 wrote:

I just called my principal. I am taking a leave of absence. I just can't do this. I can't afford another deadly disease either mentally, psychologically or financially. I'm 63, husband, 64. It's not worth it. (I'm a kindergarten para, so not a teacher, and not exactly in it for the $$ either.)


Dx 8/8/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 9/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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21 hours ago Mavericksmom wrote:

kksmom3, Good for you, I think you made a wise choice! I am 66, soon to be 67 and my husband is 79! I am also fearful and might ask for the same. I too am a para. I really need to keep working so I am hoping they will give me something on line to do, similar to last spring. Not sure since our opening is set for first week in Sept. I have a greater fear of bringing it home to my husband. if push comes to shove, I will retire. I don't think it is safe to open schools in my area as numbers are increasing.


Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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20 hours ago Whatjusthappened wrote:

This is a very interesting thread. I am a high school teacher. In July, our area had one of the highest infection rates per capita in the country. Our district pushed the start of school back 10 days to give everyone additional time to prepare, and students who wish to go face to face will be doing a hybrid curriculum in which they will go to school twice a week. Like many others who have posted here, I have devoted many hours over the summer to learning how to teach remotely. Still, there's going to be a big learning curve to this and it's going to be a challenge. I am excited to see my students again though. It was hard on everybody not to be able to say goodbye last spring.

I'm a bit nervous and will take as many precautions as possible, but can't afford to take a leave, am no where near retirement, and really need to keep my job. At this point I just have to accept that what will be will be, so to speak.


BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/21/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/22/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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19 hours ago - edited 16 hours ago by kksmom3

Mavericksmom,

I also should add that I'm in Iowa. It's getting worse here by the day, and we are the only state out of the 50 that has no mandated mask law, nor did our governor mandate online learning. High school with meet 2x a week in person, the other 3 virtually, but middle and elementary all 5 days of the week. There will be at least 20 kindergarten kids in a class, yes, they are supposed to wear masks, ugh, I mean, really, they will be all over the floor, etc. Not the children's fault! But, it's just way too risky for me. I go for my 2nd mammogram and U/S next week, I am just too newly recovered ( if we ever really do, mentally) for this.

And, I wish you all great luck.....prayers you will all be ok!!!

Dx 8/8/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 9/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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16 hours ago Whatjusthappened wrote:

kksmom3, if I were in your shoes I would do the same. I know in my district a lot of teachers have opted not to come back. And unfortunately a lot of teachers and paras were laid off because of budget cuts. So I am feeling blessed to have a job right now.

I personally don't know if I'm considered "high risk" or not- about to turn 50, no mets, no chemo. But I do have a couple of comorbid conditions like HBP and pulmonary fibrosis (from the rads), and I did have a major surgery a few weeks ago. To me that feels like high risk but my GP says I'm not. So...I don't know-we'll see, I guess.

My administrator said they would install plexi-glass around anyone's desk that felt at risk, so definitely doing that. Another idea that I just saw today is hanging clear shower curtains from the ceiling to create barriers. Something like that might be helpful for those of you going back in the classroom, though I don't know how well they would work with the little ones.

Best of luck to all of you fellow teachers and support staff- this is certainly uncharted waters for us all.

BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/21/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/22/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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12 hours ago exbrnxgrl wrote:

I spent several hours playing around in my classroom today. After the room was deep cleaned the student desks and most of my furniture was not put back in the right place but I realized it didn’t matter since I would be alone in the classroom while teaching remotely! I am actually looking forward to it. I like a challenge and this will make my last year quite memorable (or drive me crazy 😂).

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)

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