As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused various residual side effects, with dominoes continuing to tumble as people, industries, and businesses fall victim to the pandemic. While we may see the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a vaccine, the road is still filled with obstacles that go beyond proper hand washing and sanitizing.
One example of the cascading effect of an unsolved problem turning into another is the incredible shortage of teachers and faculty. While administrators, students, and parents continue to push for in-person learning at all levels, obstacles continue to mount against that possibility.
While most can manage the logistical issues, implement sanitization and cleaning processes, and most schools receive passing grades for making testing available to students, there are still challenges. A shortage of teachers and faculty facing their own issues and concerns makes staffing a headache and teaching nearly impossible.
Where are the teachers?
Teachers and faculty are dropping like flies, mostly due to these circumstances:
Teachers are infected or exposed and must quarantine. Whether they contract the virus on or off-campus, known exposure rates are rising, requiring teachers to stay home and teach virtually. The quarantine can be anywhere from 10-14 days and can be a required precautionary measure—not just for those who test positive.
Professionals have children learning virtually. While professionals who work within educational settings may be okay with being on campus, they may not have that choice if their kids are at home learning virtually or quarantining. Working outside of the home for many can be a complicated or nearly impossible decision while juggling concerns about the virus with employment.
They are stressed and concerned about being on campus. Even if an educational institution is doing everything possible to mitigate risk and create a safe environment, faculty and staff may still have concerns. Hopefully, with candid communication and transparency, this is not the case. Unfortunately, it seems as though miscommunication about processes or lack of communication is a common occurrence.
Leave of absence. Due to the unprecedented situation, changing expectations, and overall confusion and uncertainty about every aspect of the pandemic, some teachers have taken a leave of absence. Many circumstances impact this decision, and it’s often a choice met with careful consideration and even hesitation due to unforeseen consequences.
Will teachers come back?
While educational institutions and others struggle to identify a solid ‘return to normalcy’ plan, most experts agree on one thing—transparent communication, empathy, and collaboration will pave the way forward.
Administrators can alleviate concerns by providing faculty and staff with information outlining mitigation efforts and any known plans. When schools explicitly provide accurate compliance information, they reduce the anxiety and restore a sense of community.
VirusSAFE EDU <link to demo> provides the peace of mind necessary to make teachers feel more comfortable about their circumstances.
By bringing the need for (and availability of) safe education to the forefront, faculty and staff can feel better about their health and safety and look to the future with optimism. They can feel good about their role in the pandemic as part of a community that needs and wants everyone to be safe and successful.