I am worried about some of my loved ones who are headed back into the classrooms this week. I am worried for the following reasons:
- Loved ones who are teachers have faced increasing illness in poorly ventilated schools over the past few years--these loved ones have had numerous respiratory illnesses when teaching, but not when school is over.
- Loved ones who are teachers have to use poorly ventilated restrooms shared by many.
- Loved ones who are teachers are working in classrooms with poor ventilation, windows that don't open, and little access to the outdoors.
- Loved ones who are teachers are working increasingly with children who are homeless and living in homeless shelters. Homeless shelters tend to have more transience with regard to who lives there and where they are from. This transience matches elements that lead to greater COVID spread.
- Loved ones who are teachers are still working with relatively large groups in tight classrooms with children from all kinds of families and all kinds of contact--the potential for virus spread is great in these small, poorly ventilated places for multiple hours a day.
- Loved ones who are teachers have to be in classrooms with unmasked students who are eating their lunches.
- Many schools are not providing masks or shields for teachers--this puts these teachers at greater risk.
I cannot understand why most schools think their environments are safe for teachers. In some very specific cases there is enough space, ventilation, and just-right numbers and little contact. These places may be safe, but in many, many school systems, I don't believe teachers are safe for in-school teaching. I am worried about my loved ones who teach.