Gwinnett teacher with asthma says she was forced to choose between health, job

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Gwinnett County, the state’s largest school district, entered its next phase of bringing students back to class Wednesday.

But one teacher was not there.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was in Gwinnett County, where she spoke to the teacher, who did not want to be identified because she has not officially quit yet. She said she has chronic asthma and that the decision came down to her job, or her health.

“The possibilities of spreading through a school is like, terrifying to me,” she said.

Face-to-face learning is required by all Gwinnett County teachers right now. The teacher said she’s afraid she’ll catch the virus and die.

TRENDING STORIES

“The only options I have are to risk my health, my family’s health, or my livelihood,” she said. “I think it is completely ridiculous to be put in that situation in a pandemic. It’s like, where’s the grace? Where’s the consideration? Where’s the understanding that its not just me? I’m not only worried about me.”

Cases are trending down in Gwinnett, but because deaths were up 42% in the past month, many teachers want the board of education to reconsider.

At the last board meeting, several people, including doctors, voiced their concerns about face-to-face learning, but so far, the board hasn’t changed anything.

At the last board meeting, several people, including doctors, voiced their concerns about face-to-face learning, but so far, the board hasn’t changed anything.

“Every single day, I’m just in shock that this is the best that they could give us,” the teacher said. “Like, this is the largest school district in the state, this is the best that you could give me? Fear or my job?”

Last month, Channel 2 Action News looked into the rights they have if they refused to go back. A spokesperson with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators said teachers can use sick leave if they have an illness that allows them to use it.

Like in this case, once that leave is expired, the district can either give them additional leave or fire them.

mobile apps

Everything you love about wsbradio.com and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!