The back to school season is a time that can be remembered with a tinge of excitement for everyone. It is a chance to stock up on new supplies and embrace our friends. This time also has teachers that are ready to welcome a new flock of students and start a school year where hope is on the horizon. Back to school in the time of this pandemic, however, has brought only uncertainties and fear to students and teachers. 

“It doesn’t seem like they’re going to be able to protect everyone because of how this disease spreads and how schools function.”

-Kimberly Adams, president of Fairfax Education Association

Teachers planning on returning to the classroom in the fall are attempting to do so on limited knowledge of what exactly the school year will look like. There are education plans in place for when a student does test positive for COVID-19. However, many reopening plans were only decided at the state level. Without a nationwide stance on containing the spread, teachers are concerned for their safety in the coming school year. Teachers also expressed concern for their students’ safety this school year.

Teachers are at risk, but no one is listening

In a study published in The Washington Post, 1 in 4 teachers is at a greater risk of serious illness if infected with COVID-19. The rushed planning done in order to reopen schools left many teachers in the dark. Many education plans require students and teachers to wear face masks and stay six feet apart. However, teachers know that those expectations are highly unrealistic. Mandating masks and avoiding crowds at schools has already caused issues for teachers. Teachers across the country feel like there are more questions than answers in order to create a successful school year. 

“I think a lot of times people forget that kids don’t go to school by themselves. The schools are run by a lot of adults, and a lot of those adults are especially vulnerable to coronavirus.”

-Sarah Gross, high school English teacher in New Jersey

While education is absolutely necessary for a thriving community, it is essentially coming at the risk of thousands of children. Although it seems that COVID-19 does not affect children the same way that it does adults, children can still become hospitalized. NIAID director Anthony Fauci said that while young children may be less susceptible to COVID-19, they’re capable of spreading it at a higher rate. So, children can unknowingly spread the disease to teachers, staff, and even family members.

The virus is already spreading rapidly among students

In the past two weeks, 97,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19.  This staggering statistic has come hand-in-hand with the reopening of schools across the South.  In one school in Georgia, nine students and teachers have tested positive for COVID-19 after one week of school reopening.  Another school in Georgia also has 11 students and two staff members who have tested positive for the coronavirus. COVID-19 cases will increase unless precautions are taken seriously. The fact is that until there is greater control over COVID-19, we are responsible for doing our part in slowing the spread. 

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