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Educators have our gratitude for being on ‘front lines’

While we’ve rightfully praised our health care workers during the pandemic, we’ve sometimes taken for granted another segment of front-line workers: teachers and school employees.
They, too, are risking the health of themselves and their families to go to work each day and accomplish a task we as a society haven’t always valued enough – educating our children. This year, they’ve done it sometimes in the classroom, sometimes virtual. They’s also done it amid routine hand washing, increased cleaning, temperature checks, masks, and trying to socially distance children.
Our teachers are an important part of our society, and more often than not, they are under appreciated and underpaid. We need to show appreciation for our educations because it not only is the right thing to do, but we need to keep them.
We certainly understand teachers’ angst about going to school during the pandemic. The coronavirus is by no means teamed and anytime people gather, there’s a chance of one person spreading it to another.
But we also understand the importance of school.
Studies show students don’t learn as well through distance learning as they do through in-person classes. It also requires more on the part of parents, many of whom work and don’t have or want to put in the extra time virtual classes require. Virtual school may work well for some. But for students who lack the discipline and focus to stay engaged in front of a screen for hours on end, for those who need feedback from teachers and peers, there’s no substitute for the real thing.
Keeping schools open requires keeping teachers, and keeping them and the students safe. And, that hasn’t been easy during COVID-19.
So important is the education of our children and the economic construct of having kids in a learning environment during the day that we would characterize schools as an essential service.
Beyond showing our appreciation to teachers, we must do all we can to convince them to continue accepting the increased risk of getting COVID-19 and possibly bringing it home to their families. Schools need to not only keep up their safety protocols, but they also need to make it financially worth teacher’s while. Why not a bonus on their paychecks for their work this year? School boards need to consider this when they meet again.
Another way to thank our teachers is to prioritize them among the first to receive access to the vaccine, along with health care workers. We support members of Congress who are making such a push.
Teachers, like health care workers, are front-line workers who are putting them and their loved ones at risk.
To put our children and their education first, we need to also put our teachers first. We ask schools and teachers to do what’s needed to accomplish this.