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Some Texas teachers are preparing their wills before returning to the classroom

Texas students are just weeks away from returning to class – whether that be physical or virtual. And many teachers are terrified they’ll be exposed to COVID-19.
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School districts all across Texas are just weeks away from returning to class, either physically or virtually. And against the backdrop of COVID-19, this has many teachers terrified.

“It creates this fear in you of like," said Del Valle ISD teacher Heather Burt. "Yes I know I’m going to die, but I don’t really want it to be this way,” 

So Burt decided to prepare a will, just in case. She says her friends and family fully supported her decision. And Burt told the two Jasons on this week’s episode of Y’all-itics the fear is real, and it is widespread.

“I could go to Target and I have a better chance of being safe than I feel like with a bunch of kids in school,” she said.

The president of Alliance AFT, a teachers’ union, says it’s far too early for teachers and kids to physically be in the classroom because there are too many risks. Rena Honea says she would keep learning 100% virtual during the entire first semester of school.

“And for them to say that it is safe, to me, that is a political statement,” Honea said. 

For that reason, Honea does not think it’s an overreaction to prepare a will. She says teachers are being forced into this position and they should be prepared. 

And Honea says the quality of education is going to suffer because of the extraordinary steps being taken to try to keep people safe.

“Kids are going to be kids. There is going to be a lot of instructional time lost with just taking care of the safety issues," Honea said. 

Sara Wetzel is about to begin her 28th year of teaching. 

And for the first time, she too prepared a will. And she says there’s a huge problem facing teachers that isn’t being talked about enough — also have their own young children at home.

“If they decide that their children need to learn at home and this teacher is being required to be on campus, are their kids going to be able to stay at home? How does that look? Are the kids going to go to school with the teacher?" Wetzel wonders. 

And Wetzel says many districts, including hers, had construction projects over the summer. If those aren’t finished, she says it could make a tough situation even more difficult.

“Certain areas of the school might be completely shut off where students aren’t even allowed to go there,” Wetzel said. “And that’s going to put a lot more stress on faculty members, administrators and also on students.”

These educators also say don’t forget about other school workers such as the cafeteria crew or bus drivers. 

And, none of the fear or anxiety is going to keep them from doing what they love… so long as they have the will, just in case.

Burt, Honea and Wetzel are among the guests for this week's episode of the Y'all-itics political podcast.

To listen to the full episode, subscribe to Y'all-itics where you get your podcasts:

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