Dallas Teacher Feels Relief For Delayed Return to Classroom

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Eric Martinez is a teacher at Seagoville Middle School in Dallas. He says he’s breathing a sigh of relief knowing he won’t return to the classroom come August.

“It’s not ideal. I don’t like the idea of starting school virtually because managing a class online is just so difficult,” said Martinez. “But you have to take into account the health factor.”

Prior to the decision made by Dallas County Health and Human Services, he says the discussions in his house were worrisome.

“It’s just incredulous for me to report to school in person and then know fully well that I have to come back home to a family, to people that I care about knowing that I could get them sick,” he said.

Rena Honea, president of the Alliance - American Federation of Teachers, says the right decision was made.

“As far as our educators and people in the building, many of them have underlying conditions that make them very susceptible to being a prime suspect to contract the disease,” said Honea. “I believe that everybody can breathe a small sigh of relief.”

Honea says she commends county leaders for letting science and data guide their decision.

“This is should be about saving lives, not about opening our economy right now on the backs of children and educational workers,” she said.

Martinez says he can’t imagine going back to business as usual right now.

“I can’t help but imagine that a student comes in and is asymptomatic, he’s carrying the virus, he sees eight teachers a day, probably about 150 students in that day also,” said Martinez. “So, there is no way to control the spread.”

Ultimately, Martinez says more tough decisions and thorough plans are needed before he feels comfortable returning to the classroom.

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