Every job faces its own Covid-19 difficulties, but there should be no comparison guilting. Every job is different. Teachers face comparison attacks, with no consideration of the uniqueness found in the school environment.
Teachers are not taking an extended vacation. They’re working around the clock to teach children safely whether in school or remotely.
Some parents and critics are expressing frustration and scapegoating teachers, but it’s the virus they should be worried about.
Several op-eds and professional groups have put fuel on the fire with such comparisons. They’re demanding that schools should open, and teachers should quit complaining, put on their masks, and get back to work.
Here are few jobs that have been compared to teaching.
The American Academy of Pediatricians initially said teachers should return. They backed away somewhat, but still say schools should open safely.
Because they’re doctors that specialize in the health of children, we expect them to discuss child safety. But pediatricians might not understand the safety problems found in schools.
How does school safety compare to a visit to the pediatrician?
Pediatricians can set up controlled safety protocols that are easily followed. They see one child at a time. Visits are usually short. Even if there’re several pediatricians in one office complex, each can easily monitor who they see and how they address that child’s health needs.
Buildings are clean, can be disinfected after every patient visit, and air flow can be monitored. Air filters are replaced when deemed necessary.
Children don’t need to eat lunch at the office. Pediatricians don’t have to worry about transportation. The small staff that work in the office work together with the doctor to ensure the safety of each young patient and their parents.
The parent and child can be scheduled to wait outside until they’re seen. There will likely be temperature checks. Doctors can wear PPE and take extra precautions.
They can also monitor and trace any child or parent who gets sick.
Working with one child and parent is different than working with large numbers of children who congregate in classrooms that may or may not be well-ventilated.
Nurses have been frontline heroes during the pandemic. Their jobs have been made more difficult due to the chaos and this country’s unpreparedness facing this disease from the start.
Some say nurses signed on to danger. I don’t believe wanting a career where you help those who are ill, means you automatically signed onto dealing with a pandemic. But nurses and doctors are dedicated to their professions. Sadly nurses and doctors have lost their lives to Covid-19.
Nurses and doctors are working to eradicate the disease and save lives. It’s an environment and situation they have been thrust into. They didn’t have any other options. Those who are sick with the coronavirus come to them after they’ve been infected.
This is far different from schools. Those who run schools must weigh how they will prevent children and teachers from infection. Adults can control the opening of schools.
The action of educators to make safe schools during this pandemic, will also ease the burden of doctors and nurses in the hospitals by lowering the number of sick children and adults.
Cramped in an airplane creates its own set of problems, but unlike students that move around and come close to each other, passengers are for the most part contained in their seats.
Flight attendants have still voiced concerns that passengers not being screened as well as they should be for the coronavirus.
We’re told the air flow in airplanes is good. Some social distancing takes place by spacing seats.
If your job or family situation demands you have to fly, you may have no choice, but you might also avoid it.
Grocery Store Workers
Those who work in grocery stores keep the shelves stocked with items that will keep us fed and healthy during this difficult time. We owe them our gratitude.
They’re taking risks by working, but most stores have standardized safety protocols that help keep workers and shoppers safe.
Those stocking the food, and clerks, wear masks, social distance, and plexiglass barriers divide customers from clerks during check out.
Carts are usually cleaned before each use, or disinfectant wipes are made available for customers to clean the handles. Most grocery stores are in big airy buildings.
This type of organization is much different than coordinating how hundreds of children will come together in cramped school environments.
Working in Retail
Some have argued that teachers worked in stores over the summer, so why are they afraid to work in school?
Working in a store is also different in that you only face a few people at a time, and you are not responsible for the individual who chooses to come into a store to shop.
Teachers always feel responsible for their students. They don’t want to have to wonder if they didn’t catch the child who removed their mask, who later became ill. They don’t want their students to have to worry about each other either. There are so many unknowns still about this disease.
During this pandemic, every job, every career and profession, must rely on good safety measures. We have to support each other and express our gratitude for the work that’s done by everyone to keep life moving along as normal as possible.
But it’s a disservice, unkind, and even potentially dangerous to criticize teachers and administrators if they decide it’s safer to provide remote instruction. The school environment is difficult to control, prevention is everything, and it is irresponsible to set teachers and children up for catching an unpredictable disease.
Educators must consider the safety measures to keep children and teachers from catching the virus. Their goal is to teach and keep their students safe during this difficult time.
Instead of guilting, see how to assist teachers from afar. I’m sure they would appreciate your support.