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Teachers Drafting Wills Along With Lesson Plans As US Schools Return

by : Lucy Connolly on : 17 Aug 2020 18:46
ihateiceman/Twitter/PA Images

As millions of people across the United States return to school, teachers have been drafting their wills alongside lesson plans.

The US continues to lead the world in coronavirus infections and deaths, with more than 5.4 million people having contracted the virus and more than 170,000 having died since the pandemic started.

The situation doesn’t seem to be showing much sign of improving either, with case numbers remaining persistently high across most of the country – which last week suffered the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day since May, with 1,499 deaths reported on Wednesday, August 12.

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Trump Predicts Pandemic Will 'Get Worse Before It Gets Better'Trump Predicts Pandemic Will 'Get Worse Before It Gets Better'PA Images

Yet still, Donald Trump is vowing to push ahead with the reopening of America’s schools, even threatening to divert federal funding away from them if they don’t reopen.

And so, students and teachers have no choice but to return. Which is exactly what’s already been happening in states such as Georgia, Mississippi and Florida, where schools have been opening their doors for the first time since the pandemic started in the past two weeks.

Unsurprisingly, several clusters of coronavirus cases began emerging in those states within just a few days of starting classes, and there has been a 90% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among children in the US, according to a recent analysis by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

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So teachers across the country are doing the only thing they feel they can do; they’re preparing for the worst, drafting their wills as part of back-to-school preparation.

‘I’m writing my will and I haven’t even paid off my student loans yet,’ one teacher wrote on Twitter. Another tweet read: ‘Been feeling really off this week because I’m working on writing my will. I turned 27 last week, but I’m a teacher and I’m scared.’

Teddy Rivera, a staff attorney for the teachers union’s, said he has had to stop doing other duties to keep up with the demand for teachers’ wills since the pandemic started. ‘I’ve been here approximately six years and there’s an absolute spike in interest,’ Rivera told USA TODAY.

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He continued:

We also do uncontested divorces, name changes, adoptions at no cost, but all I’ve been doing for the last three months is wills. There’s a huge spike, like 1,000%. Literally all I’m doing now is wills, wills, wills.

Protest against reopening of schools in New York, US - 03 Aug 2020Protest against reopening of schools in New York, US - 03 Aug 2020PA Images

One teacher who felt the need to draft her will was 33-year-old Whitney Reddick, who made the decision to do so after the Florida Department of Education issued an executive order last month directing school districts to reopen in-person five days a week.

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Whitney also posted her own obituary on social media, which read in part: ‘Even though she shouted from the rooftops… she succumbed to the ignorance of those in power [and] returned to work.’

She will be returning to her job when her school reopens on Thursday, August 20, but said the decision was ‘extremely difficult’ because there’s a lot of other factors at play – including the fact she lives with her two-year-old son and an older family member who is classed as vulnerable.

Protest against reopening of schools in New York, US - 03 Aug 2020Protest against reopening of schools in New York, US - 03 Aug 2020PA Images

Whitney explained:

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If our students are going to return, I want to be here to make sure I can provide a great educational experience for something none of us have ever had to deal with before.

I know I can make sure they are safe. I want to be able to do that and I want to be the one here with them. The feelings that I have strongly about returning just don’t override my willingness to stand up to the call of duty.

I don’t want to leave it up to chance to have a sub come in here. That’s not fair to my peers, their students.

school classroomschool classroomPexels

Another person forced to consider his own mortality amid schools reopening is high school teacher Bradley Fischer, who invited School Board members to his own funeral during a meeting earlier this month.

‘If you do not heed this science, if you do the easy thing and open these schools,’ he said. ‘Then I cordially invite you to my funeral, to the funerals of my Black and brown students, to the funerals of my colleagues, to the funerals of the people who will be cleaning these infected classrooms, preparing the lunches, driving the buses, because that is what we’re talking about.’

He ended by saying: ‘The blood will be on your hands. That is not hyperbole.’

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Health, America, Coronavirus, Education, Pandemic, Schools, teachers, US, Wills

Credits

American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association and 3 others
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association

    Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report

  2. yellowdaiseys/Twitter

    @yellowdaiseys

  3. DramaticOstrich/Twitter

    @DramaticOstrich

  4. USA TODAY

    Teachers are drafting wills along with lesson plans; one even wrote her own obituary