Gwinnett County teacher describes stark reality of in-person learning during pandemic

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County teacher’s social media post about her new reality in her classroom has been shared thousands of times.

Lisa Solomon teaches first grade in Suwanee. On Tuesday, some first graders, as well as kindergartners, sixth and ninth graders, returned to in-person learning in Gwinnett County. Parents were able to chose whether their children would go back for in-person learning or continue virtual learning.

Solomon posted a laundry list of the changes she and her students are facing and blasted school officials for not caring about the health and safety of teachers.

“The county and community has made it clear that my safety is not a concern,” Solomon wrote in a Facebook post. “It is cruel what is happening to teachers.”

Today was the first day with half my class back face to face learning. The other half is still learning digitally. The...

Posted by Lisa Solomon on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Solomon describes the new safety protocols in her classroom, which show the stark reality of school during a pandemic.

“The students who are here face to face do not leave their desk from 8:20 - 3:30,” Solomon wrote. “We eat our lunch in the classroom (masks off). We have art, music, etc. in the classroom.”

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Solomon writes that during lunch, she sits behind her desk surrounded by plastic shower curtains while her students eat.

She writes that the children are not allowed to share or touch each other.

“They can not borrow a red crayon from a friend or read a book together,” Solomon wrote. “They cannot climb monkey bars, play on a jungle gym, play tag, etc.”

Solomon describes the difficulty of managing in-person students and students at home, describing face-to-face learning and digital learning as working two jobs. She urges anyone considering a teaching career to find another field.

“Everyday is harder than the day before. My health and safety doesn’t matter. My anxiety or mental state doesn’t matter,” Solomon finishes the post. “No one cares about this field. ‘Suck it up and educate our future with a smile on your face.’”

The post has been shared nearly 9,000 times.

Some people sympathized with Solomon in the comments.

“More teachers should share things like this!!” Amy Martin Rittle wrote. “You are very brave, thank you for doing this!”

Others disagreed.

“Let’s make this clear. You DO NOT represent all teachers. I’m a teacher. And have three school aged children of my own,” Christie Lou wrote. “My district as already returned face to face and my children resume next week. I would be happy to return to a NORMAL work environment. Period.”

Solomon is not the only Gwinnett County teacher who has expressed concerns about the return to in-person learning.

First grade teacher Amy Forehand addressed the school board last week, saying she is afraid for her safety.

“I, Amy Forehand, do not feel safe teaching in Gwinnett County Public Schools under the current plan,” Forehand said. “I’m scared for my health, I’m scared for my family’s health, I’m scared for my co-worker’s health and I’m scared for my student’s health.”