Ashley Newman, a fifth grade teacher and the mother of a 4-year-old, is feeling pressured to choose between her career and taking care of her daughter. That’s because Gwinnett County Public Schools is mandating teachers return to classrooms to work, despite adopting an online-only back-to-school plan.
In some districts, teachers need permission to work from their classrooms instead of working from home. In others, they have the option to work remotely or at school. And a few districts, such as Gwinnett, are requiring teachers to work on school sites.
“I’ve been a teacher for six years — all at Gwinnett schools — and I’ve loved every moment,” Newman said. “I don’t want to leave the profession and I don’t want to teach anywhere else.”
Newman is among hundreds of Gwinnett teachers who have a signed a petition saying they will find it difficult, if not impossible, to conduct online classes at school because of childcare or health concerns. Her husband is a firefighter and an essential worker. Her day care already has more children than guidelines deem safe.
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