coronavirus

Teachers Anxious About Returning to the Classroom

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As businesses across Massachusetts prepare to reopen, schools are still far away from holding in-person classes. But many teachers are already anxious about returning.

"I'm definitely nervous about going back," said Sturbridge special education teacher Lisa Connolly.

"When we start school again, we have to have a reentry plan," said another teacher.

Teachers throughout the commonwealth are torn. While they desperately want to get back to the classroom to teach their students in person, they have many concerns about what that will involve and whether they'll be putting their own health and the health of their families at risk.

"The CDC has made tons of recommendations about six feet apart and no recess and lunch in the classrooms," Connolly said.

She says some of those measures may be nearly impossible in many classrooms.

"I am working with students who require a lot of hands-on assistance, lifting and positioning and feeding and personal care," said Connolly.

"How do you get these kids to wear masks all day?" asked paraprofessional Chantal Poschmann. "I know for myself I can only -- 30 minutes, and I'm like, 'OK, I'm done wearing a mask.'"

Poschmann says that will be especially difficult for the younger grades.

A second grade teacher we spoke with agrees.

"Because you really have a lot of bodily fluids, especially heading into October, we've got kids with runny noses and -- masks, I don't see how they would stay clean in the classroom setting," that teacher said.

Connolly says it will also involve rethinking classroom layouts and school supplies.

"So you're not sharing the same blocks, the same crayons, the same markers, the same white board," she said.

Teachers we spoke with said the sooner they can get guidance on what to expect for the next school year, the better they'll be able to prepare.

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