Fifth Grade Teacher, Nebraska
Mary*, a fifth grade teacher in Omaha, NE, said her school district is starting the year with a "3:2 plan," meaning half the class will attend school in person for three days a week before switching over to distance learning for the remaining two days. The following week, groups will swap. Unlike many of the teachers POPSUGAR spoke with, Mary's district is requiring masks to be worn at school and sending an iPad home for every student.
Still, she said she's been frustrated to hear parents and lawmakers without education credentials float the notion that schools are "leaving children behind by not returning as normal" during the pandemic. In-person classes right now can't possibly be "normal" anyway, Mary said. Students are experiencing frightening changes that are difficult to grapple with, and those changes don't simply disappear inside school walls. "It's not 'normal' to have to potentially cope with the death of a classmate, teacher, or parent due to COVID-19," Mary said.
She also noted her school's zip code as one with the highest number of cases in the state, a fact that compounds her back-to-school anxieties. "Every year I get sick within the first three months of the school year," she told POPSUGAR, "and I don't think this year will be an exception."