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  • Ellie Anderson, reporter

Teachers Decide If They Will Teach At Home or Continue At School

On Nov. 30 the decision was made by the Board of Education (BOE) that all teachers could have a choice on whether they wanted to teach from home or continue teaching at school.

This decision was made following the board meeting that decided that Elementary schools would go completely remote for the remainder of the second quarter. The reasoning behind this decision was to limit the amount of people in the buildings.

With the rising COVID cases, the number of people in a confined space had to decrease. There are over 1,000 staff members in the district that are currently in quarantine, which has caused many issues for the rising numbers in Wichita and finding substitutes for classes, especially at the elementary level.

Kayla Conely, English and AVID teacher, has decided to teach from home. Her husband also works at East, but is continuing to go into the school to work.

“I decided to work from home instead of in the building because I wanted to be able to use the time that I typically spend commuting to/from work to be able to get more work done at my home desk,” Conely said. “My husband likes structure and routine, so being in the building, at his desk, with all his things, is good for him.”

Conely lives about 45 minutes away, so the lack of travel time in the mornings has been a huge advantage. She does have a young daughter but fortunately, they are still able to send her to daycare. Conely’s distractions are limited and allow her to focus on her classes.

“I am a pretty focused individual so I’ve been lucky that it’s just worked out really well for me as of right now,” Conely said.

On the other hand, James Cole, History teacher, made the decision to continue working from his classroom. Cole knows that he would become distracted with household chores if he decided to stay home.

“At school I can stay more focused and work on lesson planning and grading,” Cole said. “Also getting up and driving to work gives me a sense of feeling normal and I’m for anything during this time of COVID that could help me feel normal.”

With teachers making the decision to stay home, the hallways have become even more empty than they already were. For the most part, the teachers stayed in their own classrooms while teaching so there was not a lot of interaction to begin with.

Cole is lucky to have children that are more grown-up so continuing to work at school does not cause a problem for his family. The constant changing decisions are difficult, but the BOE is trying to make the best decisions.

“I think with the recent health order that encourages businesses to let as many people as possible work from home that it is probably the best decision for now,” Cole said.

There is a lot of uncertainty and hopefully sending some teachers home will help the COVID numbers decrease. Teachers are doing the best they can to make sure that their students have the best year that they can. The work and dedication that they put in is greatly appreciated, even with the constant adjustments that make planning classes difficult.

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