The Polk County Public Schools district office’s individual schools are now sending out letters asking parents of their students to make a choice between eLearning or in-person school as the pandemic continues.
(TNS) — Despite assurances from the
A demand to return to in-person lessons saw one veteran teacher put down his dry-erase marker for the final time; he submitted his resignation Tuesday evening.
"As you already know from our faculty meeting before the break, I have requested that all staff return to campus on
That demand was too much for
"When I got that email yesterday and I've been seeing how everything's been going, I just felt it was time to go. It's just forcing teachers and students back into unsafe conditions," Siebold said, noting that numbers on the state's COVID-19 dashboard do not match what he and others know to be true at his school and others. The Ledger has noted these discrepancies. "There is inaccurate reporting of numbers — there are immense numbers of quarantined kids and numbers that don't line up with the state numbers."
Siebold's son has chronic asthma, and he has spent numerous nights with him in the emergency room. He said that while students are wearing masks, safeguards put in place to protect students and teachers are, in fact, doing the opposite. For instance, he said one-way stairwells mean that students are jammed together in areas that become backed up. He also said that his classroom hasn't been swept or cleaned in more than a month. In addition, he said temperature checks designed to be swiped across foreheads are, instead, being used on wrists.
"It's not a wrist scanner. It's 88 degrees for me. I think I'm dead," Siebold joked.
"If this form is not completed by the deadline, your transition back to face-to-face learning may be delayed," the email reads. "Please be aware that students will be scheduled into the same academic courses that they are presently scheduled into, however, due to class size and teacher assignments your student may not have the same teachers. Additionally, electives may not be available in the same class period for the same reasons. We look forward to seeing your student 3rd quarter."
"They are being given the options of come back, go on a leave of absence or quit," Yocum said, noting that a number of teachers are opting to take a leave of absence, although she did not have an exact figure. She said the
According to the
Yocum said students who are struggling or even failing are being told to come back to school, although parents have the option of signing a letter acknowledging the potential "academic risks" to their child.
"The possible influx of students returning to brick-and-mortar school is driving school administrators to call eSchool and other remote work staff back into buildings to accommodate the anticipated growing number of students reporting to campuses," Yocum said. "This whole situation is a direct result of failed leadership at the state and federal levels who seem to care more for their inhumane test-and-punish accountability systems than protecting our students and the public school employees who educate them on a daily basis."
As for Siebold, he said he is going to dedicate himself to his YouTube comedy channel, in which he jokes about teaching.
"I'm a comedian and podcaster for teachers, so I've kind of transitioned into that. There's a lot of money to be made video streaming," Siebold said. "I've made more money at that than teaching. The sad part is I didn't have to teach, but I kept doing it because it was my passion."
Siebold said he expects to earn a six-figure income from this endeavor in 2021 on a page that saw more than 100 million hits last year.
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