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

Cases: 522512

Reported Deaths: 10790
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson755371494
Mobile39129799
Madison34124500
Tuscaloosa25408444
Montgomery24059573
Shelby23225242
Baldwin20730302
Lee15638166
Calhoun14358311
Morgan14171273
Etowah13705348
Marshall12012220
Houston10416279
Elmore10024203
Limestone9862148
Cullman9509191
St. Clair9486236
Lauderdale9280233
DeKalb8762183
Talladega8127173
Walker7151276
Autauga6763106
Jackson6762110
Blount6532133
Colbert6236132
Coffee5436113
Dale4781111
Russell431239
Franklin421382
Chilton4130110
Covington4069115
Tallapoosa3922148
Escambia390374
Dallas3528150
Chambers3519122
Clarke347360
Marion3076100
Pike306676
Lawrence296395
Winston273272
Bibb256761
Marengo248561
Geneva246475
Pickens233259
Barbour227155
Hale218675
Butler213268
Fayette209660
Henry188444
Cherokee182744
Randolph177841
Monroe173140
Washington165538
Macon156548
Clay150255
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne147041
Lamar140034
Lowndes137353
Wilcox124727
Bullock122040
Conecuh109728
Perry107726
Sumter103332
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 835842

Reported Deaths: 12081
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby930851587
Davidson88030924
Knox49813624
Hamilton43402485
Rutherford42319420
Williamson27545216
Sumner23492341
Montgomery19623224
Wilson18472229
Out of TN1803295
Unassigned16760132
Sullivan16184287
Blount15180194
Bradley14599147
Washington14177242
Maury13211169
Sevier13166175
Putnam11168173
Madison10789241
Robertson9607130
Anderson8627171
Hamblen8498171
Greene7739152
Tipton7226104
Coffee6831121
Dickson6734109
Cumberland6568127
Carter6468156
Bedford6426129
Gibson6402144
McMinn636597
Roane6191102
Jefferson6073121
Loudon601669
Lawrence580686
Hawkins5781106
Monroe570995
Warren551381
Dyer5361104
Franklin508688
Fayette492178
Obion450296
Cheatham444454
Cocke443798
Rhea431275
Lincoln430663
Marshall411158
Campbell409662
Weakley402862
Giles395399
Henderson372975
Macon358077
Carroll357582
White354868
Hardin349766
Hardeman346464
Lauderdale314444
Henry312475
Marion309946
Claiborne306273
Scott305545
Overton296961
Wayne294334
Hickman280546
McNairy276854
DeKalb275653
Smith274838
Haywood268361
Grainger259149
Trousdale249022
Morgan246039
Fentress238546
Johnson231638
Bledsoe209711
Chester209451
Crockett201048
Polk200024
Unicoi194549
Cannon188931
Union186034
Grundy177933
Humphreys174221
Lake169526
Sequatchie166728
Benton163240
Decatur157338
Lewis155826
Meigs134823
Stewart130828
Jackson129935
Clay109031
Houston108533
Perry105728
Moore100017
Van Buren83421
Pickett75624
Hancock54912

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