Retired educator concerned about teacher safety as North Alabama schools plan to reopen

While more funding pours into reopening safely, and providing remote learning, one retired teacher is still concerned for educators.

Posted: Jul 20, 2020 9:13 PM
Updated: Jul 21, 2020 12:20 PM

In less than a month, students could be returning to the classroom. However, districts across North Alabama are still working on how to accomplish in-person instruction safely. 

Precautions against coronavirus are expensive. On Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey announced more funding for health care and remote learning in public schools. Now, $170 million will go towards two different grant programs.

Each public school district in Alabama will be receiving at least $70,000 from the Education Health and Wellness Grant Program, and $100,000 from the Educational Remote Learning Devices Grant Program. 

Some districts are getting a lot more. The majority of districts in North Alabama are receiving well over that minimum amount. 

Education Health and Wellness Grant Program:

  • Huntsville City: $1,878,613
  • Madison City: $818,092
  • Madison County: $1,409,035

Educational Remote Learning Devices Grant Program:

  • Huntsville City: $2,683,734
  • Madison City: $1,168,703
  • Madison County: $2,012,907

For a full list of districts, click here.

This comes as parents weigh the decision whether or not to send their kids back to the classroom. However, many teachers are not given the same option. 

A retired teacher in Huntsville is concerned for those who are faced with choosing the job over their safety. 

Gloria Gann spent several years as a teacher at Blossomwood Elementary school in Huntsville. Now retired, Gann is still reflecting on just how conflicting this situation is for educators in North Alabama. 

"It's a very difficult decision because you're giving and taking both ways," Gann said.

Gann is in her 80s and is still educating, but only virtually.

"It just feels right to teach, I love to teach," Gann said. 

She has been retired from the classroom for several years but has taken up online tutoring. Right now, Gann knows she is safe, but that is not the case for teachers across North Alabama.

"It's a hard thing to ask someone to be in contact with that many people and especially children, who are not at all concerned about distancing or masks or anything else," Gann said.

However, districts have access to more funding when it comes to health-related costs. Under the Education Health and Wellness Grant Program, it will cover costs of health care professionals, testing, nursing supplies, creation of isolation areas, thermometers and modification of school transportation. 

"You're putting your life on the line, no doubt about it and I just think the schools before they open up for students need to be very health conscious and keep their students safe," Gann said. 

Gann believes this funding by the Alabama State Department of Education is a step in the right direction and is hopeful districts will take full advantage of it.

"It's hard to make your decision until you know exactly what that classroom will look like," Gann said. 

Madison County Schools, Madison City Schools and Huntsville City Schools declined to comment on the additional funding Monday night. 

Huntsville City Schools did release a statement regarding teacher safety:

"The wellbeing of both students and staff members remains paramount in Huntsville City Schools. The district has implemented numerous measures to promote a safe and healthy environment conducive for teaching and learning during the upcoming school year. Learn more visiting huntsvillecityschools.org/reset."

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
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DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 124915

Reported Deaths: 1271
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby23625314
Davidson20865219
Rutherford662955
Hamilton631555
Knox475040
Williamson360725
Sumner347373
Unassigned31173
Out of TN295216
Wilson233923
Bradley199115
Montgomery198614
Sevier19029
Putnam180018
Trousdale15836
Robertson157820
Hamblen142016
Blount132412
Washington12912
Maury12847
Tipton121710
Madison118920
Sullivan104815
Hardeman94218
Bedford93011
Macon86713
Lake7940
Loudon7543
Gibson7357
Bledsoe7162
Dickson7052
Fayette7048
Anderson6986
Dyer6688
Henderson6133
Cheatham6018
Obion5884
Jefferson5874
Lawrence5847
McMinn55920
Coffee5583
Rhea5442
Warren5404
Carter5326
Lauderdale5229
Haywood5107
Greene5049
Roane4882
Hawkins4859
Cocke4824
Weakley4824
Hardin4798
Cumberland4636
Smith4584
Monroe4519
McNairy3886
Giles38713
DeKalb3662
Franklin3384
Carroll3303
Lincoln3151
Marshall3054
Henry2990
White2945
Johnson2880
Claiborne2770
Crockett2745
Hickman2720
Campbell2541
Wayne2292
Marion2285
Chester2252
Decatur2153
Polk2133
Overton2091
Grainger2040
Unicoi1680
Union1620
Benton1581
Cannon1540
Jackson1301
Humphreys1293
Morgan1271
Scott1241
Grundy1182
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