Omicron numbers are skyrocketing across the country. Some school districts like Scott County in Kentucky are requiring masks, despite a 50/50 opinion split among parents. Meanwhile, students in Windsor and Severance schools in Fort Collins, Colorado can decide for themselves after the school board voted to change the district’s policy from masks required to masks recommended.
Spend five minutes on #TeacherTwitter, and you’ll see there is zero Covid-19 consistency in schools. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of where each state stands. Teachers are sad. Scared. Mad. And so are the students. This NYC student’s viral Reddit thread describes a recent school day in which they spent most of their time in a crowded study hall due to teacher absences. And this week, hundreds of kids walked out of Brooklyn Tech to protest in-person learning.
Teachers, students, and parents are drained
As a mom of two young kids in daycare, I didn’t realize the true gravity of a Covid-19 exposure until the director shared a chart of when my kids could return to school based on testing and symptoms. It’s like an “If/Then” game that doesn’t end.
If she gets tested on day 5 and it’s negative, she can return on day 7.
If you decide not to test her, she can return on day 10.
And the director is having to track this for every single kid. Talk about exhausting.
In hopes of getting the slightest pulse-check on Covid-19 protocols in schools around the country, we took to Twitter and Facebook.
We asked: With rising cases of Omicron, what does teaching look like at your school right now?
Spoiler alert, more than two thousand comments later, and we’re back to square one. Zero consistency. Take a look for yourself.
“Out today: 13 of my 8th grade students in second period class, 11 in third, 5 in 4th, 2 in 5th, 5 in 6th. This is the tip of the iceberg.” —@N8VTeachers62
“I’m in Tennessee. Back to pre-pandemic protocols. We have masks available if they ask. We can’t even force quarantine. Positive teachers are asked to continue working.” —Heather M.
“As of right now we are returning to in-person with weekly testing for all staff and students.” —@JayProano
“In person and I had a discussion about masks with every student yesterday and now I get to be the mask police so they can try and keep schools open.” —@MsGray99448996
“I teach in a county with 90,000 students. All in person unless virtual was chosen in August. Going well. Teachers catch up the kids when they return!” —@sum_mathteacher
“No masks, in person, no distancing, and positive kids and teachers can come back after 5 days.” —@whitney421
“I’m in Florida. The plan is “May the odds ever be in your favor!” —Karen B.
“We are in-person with a lot of staff and student absences. Very few available subs, too.” —@amto2828
“F2F—temperatures every period.” —@anwtutor
“Just like 2020 and 2021…in person from day one. But, I teach in the Deep South, so…yeah. Oh, and masks are strongly recommended but not required. The same for cleaning. We have stopped receiving supplies to disinfect our classrooms.” —@nett_dot
In many schools, teachers have to report to school despite virtual teaching
And in other schools, teachers are running out of sick days
What happens if you test positive for Covid-19 but don’t have any paid leave left? You get sent home to quarantine and don’t receive a paycheck. Pretty harsh when you’re just trying to do your job and show up for your kids, yet some administrators are hesitant to help. And there’s no end in sight. Kids are being asked to take their Chromebooks home daily to prepare for virtual learning, and teachers are being asked to make emergency sub plans in the event that they have to quarantine.