COLORADO SPRINGS — The coronavirus pandemic giving back to school a whole new vibe.
“Last year, I was looking at Pinterest, and I was looking at Instagram, and figuring out what I was going to do with my bulletin boards,” said Angela Bird, a French and science teacher at Mesa Ridge High School and president of the Widefield Education Association.
Instead, these teachers are getting their affairs in order.
“This is not a back to school normal thing,” said Cari Fox, 7th grade math and science teacher at Challenger High School and President of the Academy Education Association.
The Pikes Peak Education Association held a will signing event Monday, giving an opportunity to newer teachers to get wills made and notarized.
“In my school district, a majority of our educators have been there five years or less. And when you’re 21, a Will isn’t something you’re thinking about, but with education and with the situation we’re going into, we want to make sure that people truly are prepared for that worst-case scenario and especially during a time of grief, their family doesn’t have to scramble to wonder what their last wishes were or how to help,” Bird said.
Several teachers are concerned about safety.
“We don’t have money for PPE, we don’t have money for plexiglass, we don’t have money for extra custodians and hand sanitizers, we just don’t. You know, opening up in person, especially at the high school level where those kids are transmitting just like adults, and the adults behave the same as it does for adults, I think that’s a very scary proposition,” Fox said.
And they say following social distancing guidelines will be challenging.
“Social distancing when you’re staffed 30 to one, you can’t. My classroom is 770 square feet. According to the state social distancing calculator, I can fit four people in there, six feet apart. I have friends that are taking pictures of their classrooms now after they’ve arranged the seats. Seats are 18 inches apart, I mean we pack them in. This system is built for efficiency. This has thrown a big wrench into it, plus cutting funds. And teachers are leaving, which means that class sizes will be bigger, subs aren’t coming in, which means I’m going to have to cover other people’s classrooms when they’re sick or gone,” Fox said.
Going back to school also means creating a new routine for some.
“I personally, have a son that is immune-compromised and so, for me to look at going back and being in a classroom with 30 children, and then coming home, honestly I’m thinking of all the things I’m going to have to do like people that work in a hospital do. You know, leave my shoes outside the door, come straight in and change my clothes and shower and these kinds of things to really protect my son after I’d been in an environment where I’ve potentially been exposed to COVID for eight hours,” Bird said,