Teachers discuss concerns with heading back to school this fall

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BIRMINGHAM Ala. (WIAT) — Teachers all across the nation are preparing to head back into the classroom this fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Jonesboro Elementary teachers Tricia Shanlever and Jamesia Powell say it’s concerning because this is something they have never had to deal with before.

 “You can wipe things down: doorknobs, desks spray, Lysol that sort of thing, but you are still talking about a 5th-grade classroom. You might have 26 or 27 children all in one room together,” Tricia Shanlever said.

 “They aren’t required to wear masks, so that’s a little scary for me when we have the new mask ordinance to follow,” Jamesia Powell said.

Both teachers say they have high confidence in safety measures being put in place by the Bessemer City Schools district to keep everyone safe. UAB’s Dr. Michael Saag says teachers will be at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

“The teacher is not that well protected, to be honest, with the children or the students running around without masks, so it’s important in my opinion that how we do this is critical,” Dr. Saag said.

Both teachers say there is nothing like working hands-on with a student in the classroom, so despite the danger that may come with their job it is their duty.

 “Sometimes school is the only place they get love and support and even meals sometimes,” Powell said.

“You think about all the nurses and the first responders and the paramedics the firemen all the people that are putting their lives out there to take care of people when teachers’ jobs are just as important because where is that going to put our kids in the future,” Shanlever said.


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