Omicron in the Classroom
On the first day back from holiday break, there were only six students in my first period. Usually, I have close to twenty students so the absences were sharp.
Many students were out with COVID. Even my co-teacher had informed me the day before that her entire family had been infected by the virus. Her support would be missed.
It was the same the next day — only six students. We continue our nonfiction lesson and I asked questions about changes they liked to see in 2022. We had a brief discussion and then went to the main lesson.
My second group was a different story. On the first day back, there were about fifteen out of twenty-five students. The next day there were about seventeen. However, on Thursday, the number went down drastically. I had about ten students.
We continued our nonfiction lesson. Since Thursday was the one-year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection, I asked for their thoughts about the attack on the US Capitol and whether or not it could happen again. Most students were in agreement that the attack could happen again. One student went on to say that it will most likely happen during the 2024 election.
I assigned the homework. It was posted on Google Classroom. I also posted a PDF of the nonfiction book, so students could continue the work from home.
Students also received their Progress Reports. This was a mid-term check-in for the students. Students get to see where they are so far for the term. I was happy that most of my students were doing well, earning As and Bs in the class.
Today, a snowstorm blew into our state. Our city received about 8 inches of snow. The district canceled classes for the day. My street is buried as is my car. But I'm happy to have a 3-day weekend.
With Omicron surging, I don’t know how much longer the district can sustain staffing shortages and student absences. We need to go remote but we need to do it better than last time. A strategy must be in place that is understood by everyone.
This pandemic is wreaking havoc on education. Teaching and learning are being delivered in fits and starts. With students out, the learning loss is growing. People want to deny learning loss, especially for Black and Brown students. But as a teacher, I see it in the classroom every day. Students are struggling and the district wants to conduct business as usual.
Omicron means business. The virus is disrupting education. We can’t carry on as if it’s not affecting us. Students need to be vaccinated. Daily or weekly testing needs to be done. Schools must be sanitized before, during, and after school hours. We all must do our part to minimize infections.
It is going to be a difficult second half of the school year. The stress is already felt by teachers, especially since we’re still being evaluated by administrators. It’s not fair given the present circumstances. But the district never cared about being fair to teachers. We must keep on keeping on.