Teachers Set to Return to School in One Week?

With the deadline for teachers to report to Dominion fast approaching, there are some who have a difficult choice to make.


My-Van Nguyen

Classrooms will no longer be empty as of January 12 when teachers return to school to prepare for the return of students.

On January 12th, 2021, LCPS middle and high school teachers will be returning to their schools. That is until the night of January 5 when an email was sent out telling teachers they do not have to report then and that it will be discussed at School Board Meeting that night. Students are supposed to be returning on January 21st, giving teachers around a one week period to prepare for the return of a portion of their students. This has caused some teachers to raise concerns about safety and needs at home causing some teachers to decide to teach from home, take leave, or even retire.

The LCPS policy on teachers returning or staying home is that if the teacher does not have a serious health risk themself, they will either return to the building or take leave without pay. Leave without pay will also mean that they will not be teaching at all, online or in-person. 

On December 22nd teachers were informed from acting Superintendent Scott Zeigler that they could bring their school-aged children into their classroom, eliminating child care issues for some teachers.

Math teacher Kathy Kaplan decided to retire early, which means that she did not be returning to school after winter break. Kaplan said, “The pandemic was certainly the main catalyst for my decision to retire. I am not comfortable going back into the building and being in a closed space with other people.”

Not everyone made the decision to retire. Shelli Glynn, the chair of the English department, revealed that there are a total of five teachers who may not be returning to the building in her department. Glynn said, “There are three teachers who will continue to teach distance.”

For the students who are not going to have a teacher that takes leave, long term substitute teachers will be put in the classroom. Long term substitute teachers cannot just be anybody, they must have experience in the subject that they will be teaching. 

If the teacher qualifies to be allowed to teach at home, a monitor will be hired to be in the classroom for students who selected in-person learning.

Steve Hicks, chair of the history department, asked one thing from the students, be patient. He said, “Be flexible in your own learning.Teachers are important, but you are responsible for your own learning.”

On December 10th, LCPS announced the suspension of hybrid learning due to the rising number of COVID cases in the county. Depending upon the numbers in early January will determine if students return to the building on January 21 or if distance learning is extended. On December 23rd, LCPS sent an email to all staff members explaining the policy for the return to school.