Teachers aren't immune to coronavirus or to being sent into quarantine when one of their students tests positive for the virus.
That's contributing to a shortage of teachers in Alabama schools and State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Eric Mackey, told WAAY 31 for the first time ever, there's even a shortage of elementary school teachers.
WAAY 31 spoke with a teacher who didn't feel safe going back to the classroom this year.
Dr. Tammy Walker's passion is teaching and she's been doing what she loves for more than 25 years. She said her fiance is a cancer survivor and she works with the elderly, so when she had to make the decision to either go back to a traditional school setting or find an alternative teaching solution, like Zoom, she decided to go with something new.
“It was definitely thought-provoking. Do I want to put myself in an environment where there would be so many unknown factors, so much interaction with so many different people and even though the schools have tried putting up Plexiglas, I just didn’t feel that was a complete answer to what’s going on right now," said Walker.
When schools announced plans to reopen, Walker was working at a private school in Madison County. She said she didn't feel the safety precautions in place would be very practical for her students.
“When have you ever known a student to be sitting in their desk facing forward?" said Walker. "It doesn’t happen, you know? They’re everywhere else, so I'm not sure. I don’t even see that as a viable solution.”
She now runs "Educational Solutions with Dr. Tammy Walker." She said it's like a catering service, with a few educators teaching students via Zoom.
Walker said this allows teachers to have a say in what they're comfortable with instead of being told what they have to do.
“If I was working for someone else and they told me I had to report and I had to interact and I had to be in a hallway with, you know, 200 other children, that does not give me a choice, that gives me exposure," said Walker.
To make sure everyone is healthy when they do provide in-person learning, the teachers wear masks and check their temperatures before the meetings.