A teacher in the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District says she has had enough. Jennifer Freestone has been teaching for 15 years and she wants school leaders to listen up.
Freestone says going back to school as the number of COVID-19 cases continues is not safe. She says virtual learning was great when the pandemic started and it should continue to be that way. She said she is speaking out for the safety of herself and students.
“There is a pandemic out there. It is literally life and death: listen to your teachers,” she said.
Freestone teaches English at Jersey Village High School. She said she is concerned about the upcoming school year.
“I’m feeling nervous, anxious and angry. I don’t think we should be going back to school because we are not down to the levels we should be at,” she said.
Like many other educators across the nation, she is speaking out.
“I don’t want to lose my life. I have parents that are both in their 60s. They have health problems that make them high risk. If I go back now I can’t see them because I could be carrying it and not even know it,” Freestone said.
Cy-Fair ISD is allowing parents to send their children back to school or learn from home.
“When the board gave parents the option to do face-to-face instruction, I think that was misleading. Because I think as a parent, I would be thinking there is no way they would open their schools up to face-to-face instruction unless they could protect my child,” she said.
She also has concerns with social distancing.
“(At) high school and middle school campuses, students are only going to be 3-feet apart not six,” she said.
Freestone says teachers have to be 6-feet apart.
“They are also putting desk shields on our desk and we are supposed to stay at the front of the room at all times,” she said.
Freestone says the district did not survey educators or ask them about safely reopening schools.
“We got absolutely no say in it. I did a speech in front of the board on Thursday, and I felt like they didn’t even hear me,” she said.
She says there’s always been a shortage of substitute teachers, and the pandemic will only make things worse.
Freestone says educators will return to schools Friday for professional development training.
However, on Monday, Freestone and several other educators will be protesting at the Cy-Fair School board meeting. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.
The first day of school for Cy-Fair students is Sept. 8.