Austin teachers resign as classrooms reopen

Oct 10, 2020 by

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At the end of the first day back in the classroom on Monday, Kocurek Elementary second grade teacher Alyssa Baird felt overwhelmed. She was teaching students in person and over the internet and she worried about bringing the coronavirus home to her 1 year-old daughter and her mother, who watches the toddler and has a medical condition that puts her at high risk of becoming severely ill if she contracts the disease.

She resigned.

On Wednesday, still in the classroom until the Austin school district finds a replacement for her, she felt sick and said she had no choice other than pay $275 out of pocket to get a coronavirus rapid test. It was negative. But she said the experience reaffirmed her decision to leave her job after seven years in the classroom.

Since Aug. 1, 96 Austin district teachers have resigned or retired and and 64 more teachers have taken a leave of absence since the school year started. There are 86 classroom teacher vacancies.

“I wanted to give it a try before I threw in a towel,” said Baird, who has a master’s degree in literacy.

She said she didn’t want to take family leave because her students could be left without a certified teacher. “I love my job. I love teaching. I was going to try to stick it through especially for my principal because I have a lot of respect for her. But if I were to expose my mom to it, it’s not likely it’d be a good outcome, and exposing my daughter to it and the possibility of having long term consequences, I’m not OK with it.”

Baird said several fellow teachers have called her this week crying over the stress of the hybrid learning model — teaching simultaneously for students in the classroom and learning from home over the internet — or over fears of exposing loved ones to the virus, but are not financially able to make the same decision she did.

Source: Austin teachers resign as classrooms reopen – News – Austin American-Statesman – Austin, TX

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